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Full text of "The story of the treasure seekers; being the adventures of the Bastable children in search of a fortune"

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University of California • Berkeley 

From the Bequest 

of 

Dorothy K. Thomas 




T. FISHER UNWIN, PUBLISHER, LONDON 



THE TREASURE 
SEEKERS 



• • 




CARROLLIANA. 

THE LIFE AND LETTERS 
OF LEWIS CARROLL 
(Rev. C. L. Dodgson). By 
S. Dodgson Collixgwoou. 
With 100 Illustrations. New 
and cheaper edition. Crown 
8vo, cloth gilt, price 3s. 6d. 

Opinions of the Press. 

"An entirely excellent book." — 
Liverpool Daily Post. 

" Eminentl}' readable and attrac- 
tive."— iVftt' Age. 

"All those who love 'Alice' 
should make haste to read it." — 
St. Raines's Gazette. 

THE LEWIS CARROLL 
PICTURE BOOK. By 

S. Dodgson Collingwood. 
Full of Illustrations, from 
photographs and drawings by 
Lewis Carroll and Others. 
Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s. 



London : T. FISHER UNWIN. 



T*- 



'ii® 




"Dora and H. 0. had clubbed their money together and bought a melon. 



The Story of the 
Treasure Seekers 

BEING THE ADVENTURES OF 
THE BASTABLE CHILDREN 
IN SEARCH OF A FORTUNE 



BY 

E. NESBIT 

AUTHOR OF " LAYS AND LEGENDS," " THE 
SEVEN DRAGONS," ETC. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON 
BROWN AND LEWIS BAUMER -f -|- 



LONDOX 

T. FISHER UNWIN 

Paternoster Square 

1899 



[All rights reserved.] 



^0 
OSWALD BAEEON 

WITHOUT WHOM THIS BOOK COULD 

NEVEE HAVE BEEN WRITTEN 

"THE TKEASUKE SEEKERS " IS DEDICATED 

IN MEMORY OF CHILDHOODS 

IDENTICAL BUT FOR THE 

ACCIDENTS OF TIME 

AND SPACE. 



CONTENTS 



-*o*- 



CHAP- PAGE 

I. THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS . . 3 

II. DIGGING FOR TREASURE .... 17 

III. BEING DETECTIVES 31 

IV. GOOD HUNTING 51 

V. THE POET AND THE EDITOR . . . .65 

VI. noel's princess 79 

VII. BEING BANDITS 95 

VIII. BEING EDITORS Ill 

IX. THE G. B 133 

X. LORD TOTTENHAM ..... 153 

XI. CASTILIAN AMOROSO 169 

XII. THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD . . . 195 

XIII. THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR . . . 219 

XIV. THE DIVINING-ROD 249 

XV. " LO, THE POOR INDIAN ! " . . . . 265 

XVI. THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING . 281 

ix 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



"DORA AND H.O. HAD CLUBBED THEIR MONEY TOGETHER 

AND BOUGHT A MELON " . . . . Frontispiece 

From a draiving by Lewia Baumer. 

" PRESENTLY WE GOT DOWN, CREEPING PAST FATHER'S 

STUDY " . . . . . . Facing page 40 

From a drawing by Lewis Baumer. 

" HE CUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS BEST BUTTONS OFF " ,, 53 

From a drawing by Gordon Brown. 

" ' there's POETRY IN NEWSPAPERS,' SAID ALICE " . ,, 55 

From a drawing by Gordon Broivn. 

"'WELL, WOULD A GUINEA MEET YOUR VIEWS?' HE 

ASKED " . . . . . . ,,71 

From a draiving by Gordon Brown. 

" THE FUNNIEST LITTLE GIRL YOU EVER SAW " . . ,,84 

From a drawing by Gordon Brown. 

"SHE SAT VERY UPRIGHT ON THE GRASS, WITH HER FAT 

LITTLE HANDS IN HER LAP " . . . ,,86 

From a draiving by Gordon Brown. 

" THE LITTLE GIRL WAS CARRIED AWAY SCREAMING " . ,, 90 

From a draiving by Gordon Brown. 

" THE OLD GENTLEMAN CAUGHT HIM BY THE COLLAR, AND 

CALLED HIM A YOUNG THIEF "... ,, 154 

From a drawing by Gordon Brown . 

xi 



xii LIST OF ILLUSTBATIONS 

" GOOD OLD PINCHER HAD GOT LORD TOTTENHAM BY THE 

TROUSER-LEG " . . . . FaciiKj piU/e 158 

From a drawing by Gordon Brown. 

" TO THE POLICE STATION " . . . . „ 161 

From a drawing by Gordon Broton. 

" WE FOLLOWED HER ON TIPTOE, AND ALICE SANG AS SHE 

WENT "...... ,, 254 

From a drawing by Gordon Broton. 

" SEE THE RICH TREASURE " .... ,, 256 

From a draiving by Gordon Brown. 

* ' let the priestess set forth the tale in fitting 

speech" ....... ,, 259 

From a draiving by Gordon Brown. 

*' WE were LOOKING OVER THE BANISTERS " . . ,, 265 

From a drawing by Gordon Broivn. 

" I don't SUPPOSE HE WAS USED TO POLITENESS FROM 

boys" ...... ,, 271 

From a drawing by Gordon Brown. 

*' THE UNCLE WAS VERY FIERCE WITH THE PUDDING " . ,, 275 

From a draiving by Gordon Broivn. 



CEAPTEB I. 



THE TEBASUEE SEEKEES 



CHAPTEK I 

THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 

This is the story of the different ways we 
looked for treasure, and I think when you have 
read it you will see that we were not lazy 
about the looking. 

There are some things I must tell before I 
begin to tell about the treasure-seeking, because 
I have read books myself, and I know how 
beastly it is when a story begins, " 'Alas! ' 
said Hildegarde with a deep sigh, ' we 
must look our last on this ancestral home ' " 
— and then some one else says some- 
thing — and you don't know for pages and 
pages where the home is, or who Hildegarde 
is or anything about it. Our ancestral home 
is in the Lewisham Eoad. It is semi-detached 



/ 



4 THE TEEASUBE SEEKERS 

and has a garden, not a large one. We are 
the Bastables. There are six of us besides 
Father. Our Mother is dead, and if you think 
we don't care because I don't tell 3^ou much 
about her you only show that you do not 
understand people at all. Dora is the eldest. 
Then Oswald — and then Dicky. Oswald won 
the Latin prize at his preparatory school — and 
Dicky is good at sums. Alice and Noel are 
twins : they are ten, and Horace Octavius 
is my youngest brother. It is one of us that 
tells this story — but I shall not tell you which : 
only at the very end perhaps I will. While 
the story is going on you may be trying to 
guess, only I bet you don't. 

It was Oswald who first thought of looking 
for treasure. Oswald often thinks of very 
interesting things. And directly he thought 
of it he did not keep it to himself, as some 
boys would have done, but he told the others, 
and said — 

"I'll tell you what, we must go and seek 
for treasure : it is always what you do to 
restore the fallen fortunes of your House." 

Dora said it was all very well. She often 
says that. She was trying to mend a large 
hole in one of Noel's stockings. He tore it 
on a nail when we were playing shipwrecked 



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 5 

mariners on top of the chicken-house the 
day H. 0. fell off and cut his chin : he has 
the scar still. Dora is the only one of 
us who ever tries to mend anything. Alice 
tries to make things sometimes. Once she 
knitted a red scarf for Noel because his chest 
is delicate, but it was much wider at one end 
than the other, and he wouldn't wear it. So 
we used it as a pennon, and it did very well, 
because most of our things are black or grey 
since Mother died ; and scarlet was a nice 
change. Father does not like you to ask for 
new things. That was one way we had of 
knowing that the fortunes of the ancient 
House of Bastable were really fallen. Another 
way was that there was no more pocket-money 
— except a penny now and then to the little 
ones, and people did not come to dinner any 
more, like they used to, with pretty dresses, 
driving up in cabs — and the carpets got holes 
in them — and when the legs came off things 
they were not sent to be mended, and we gave 
up having the gardener except for the front 
garden, and not that very often. And the 
silver in the big oak plate-chest that is lined 
with green baize all went away to the shop to 
have the dents and scratches taken out of it, 
and it never came back. We think Father 



6 THE TBEASUBE SBEKEES 

hadn't enough money to pay the silver man 
for taking out the dents and scratches. The 
new spoons and forks were yellowy- white, and 
not so heavy as the old ones, and they never 
shone after the first day or two. 

Father was very ill after Mother died ; and 
while he was ill his business-partner went to 
Spain — and there was never much money 
afterwards. I don't know why. Then the 
servants left and there was only one, a General. 
A great deal of your comfort and happiness 
depends on having a good General. The last 
but one was nice : she used to make jolly good 
currant puddings for us, and let us have the 
dish on the floor and pretend it was a wild 
boar we were killing with our forks. But the 
General we have now nearly always makes 
sago puddings, and they are the watery kind, 
and you cannot pretend anything with them, 
not even islands, like you do with porridge. 

Then we left off going to school, and Father 
said we should go to a good school as soon as 
he could manage it. He said a holiday would 
do us all good. We thought he was right, 
but we wished he had told us he couldn't afford 
it. For of course we knew. 

Then a great many people used to come to 
the door with envelopes with no stamps on 



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 7 

them, and sometimes they got very angry, 
and said they were calHng for the last time 
before putting it in other hands. I asked 
Ehza what that meant, and she kindly 
explained it to me, and I was so sorry for 
Father. 

And once a long, blue paper came ; a police- 
man brought it, and we were so frightened. 
But Father said it was all right, only when he 
went up to kiss the girls after they were in 
bed, they said he had been crying, though I'm 
sure that's not true. Because only cowards 
and snivellers cry, and my Father is the 
bravest man in the world. 

So you see it was time we looked for treasure ; 
and Oswald said so, and Dora said it was 
all very well. But the others agreed with 
Oswald. So we held a council. Dora was in 
the chair — the big dining-room chair, that we 
let the fireworks off from, the Fifth of November 
when we had the measles and couldn't do it 
in the garden. The hole has never been 
mended, so now we have that chair in the 
nursery, and I think it was cheap at the blow- 
ing-up we boys got when the hole was burnt. 
We must do something," said Alice, 

because the exchequer is empty." She 
rattled the money-box as she spoke, and it 



u 



8 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

really did rattle because we always keep the 
bad sixpence in it for luck. 

^^ Yes — but what shall we do ? " said Dicky. 
^' It's so jolly easy to say let's do something ^ 
Dicky always wants everything settled exactly. 
Father calls him the Definite Article. 

" Let's read all the books again. We shall 
get lots of ideas out of them." It was Noel 
who suggested this, but we made him shut up, 
because we knew well enough he only wanted 
to get back to his old books. Noel is a poet. 
He sold some of his poetry once — and it was 
printed, but that does not come in this part of 
the story. 

Then Dicky said, '' Look here. We'll be 
quite quiet for ten minutes by the clock — and 
each think of some way to find treasure. And 
when we've thought we'll try all the ways one 
after the other, beginning with the eldest." 

*' I shan't be able to think in ten minutes, 
make it half an hour," said H. O. His real 
name is Horace Octavius, but we call him 
H. 0. because of the advertisement, and it's 
not so very long ago he was afraid to pass the 
hoarding where it says '^Eat H. O." in big 
letters. He says it was when he was a little 
boy, but I remember last Christmas but one, 
he woke in the middle of the night crying and 



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 9 

howling, and they said it was the pudding. 
But he told me afterwards he had been dream- 
ing that they really had come to eat H. 0., 
and it couldn't have been the pudding, when 
you come to think of it, because it was so very 
plain. 

Well, we made it half an hour — and we all 
sat quiet, and thought and thought. And I 
made up my mind before two minutes were 
over, and I savv^ the others had, all but Dora, 
who is always an awful time over everything. 
I got pins and needles in my leg from sitting 
still so long, and when it was seven minutes 
H. 0. cried out — 

" Oh, it must be more than half an hour ! " 

H. 0. is eight years old, but he cannot tell 
the clock yet. Oswald could tell the clock 
when he was six. 

We all stretched ourselves and began to 
speak at once, but Dora put up her hands to 
her ears and said — 

^' One at a time, please. We aren't playing 
Babel." (It is a very good game. Did you 
ever play it ?) 

So Dora made us all sit in a row on the 
floor, in ages, and then she pointed at us with 
the finger that had the brass thimble on. Her 
silver one got lost when the last General but 



10 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

two went away. We think she must have 
forgotten it was Dora's and put it in her box 
by mistake. She was a very forgetful girl. 
She used to forget what she had spent money 
on, so that the change was never quite right. 

Oswald spoke first. " I think we might 
stop people on Blackheath — with crape masks 
and horse-pistols — and say ' Your money or 
your life ! Kesistance is useless, we are 
armed to the teeth ' — like Dick Turpin and 
Claude Duval. It wouldn't matter about not 
having horses, because coaches have gone out 
too." 

Dora screwed up her nose the way she 
always does when she is going to talk like the 
good elder sister in books, and said, ^' That 
would be very wrong : it's like pickpocketing or 
taking pennies out of Father's great-coat when 
it's hanging in the hall." 

I must say I don't think she need have said 
that, especially before the little ones — for it 
was when I was only four. 

But Oswald was not going to let her see he 
cared, so he said — 

" Oh, very well. I can think of lots of other 
ways. We could rescue an old gentleman 
from deadly Highwaymen." 

" There aren't any," said Dora. 



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 11 

" Oh, well, it's all the same — from deadly 
peril, then. There's plenty of that. Then he 
would turn out to be the Prince of Wales, 
and he would say, " My noble, my cherished 
preserver ! Here is a million pounds a year. 
Eise up. Sir Oswald Bastable." 

But the others did not seem to think so, and 
it was Alice's turn to say. 

She said, *'I think we might try the 
divining rod. I'm sure I could do it. I've 
often read about it. You hold a stick in your 
hands, and when you come to where there is 
gold underneath the stick kicks about. So 
you know. And you dig." 

" Oh," said Dora suddenly, '' I have an 
idea. But I'll say last. I hope the divining 
rod isn't wrong. I believe it's wrong in the 
Bible." 

" So is eating pork and ducks," said Dicky. 
^' You can't go by that." 

"Anyhow, we'll try the other ways first," 
said Dora. " Now, H. 0." 

"Let's be Bandits," said H. 0. "I dare 
say it's wrong, but it would be fun pre- 
tending." 

" I'm sure it's wrong," said Dora. 

And Dicky said she thought everything 
wrong. She said she didn't, and Dicky was 



12 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

very disagreeable. So Oswald had to make 
peace, and he said — 

''Dora needn't play if she doesn't want to. 
Nobody asked her. And Dicky, don't be an 
idiot : do dry up and let's hear what Noel's 
idea is." 

Dora and Dicky did not looked pleased, but 
I kicked Noel under the table to make him 
hurry up, and then he said he didn't think he 
wanted to play any more. That's the worst 
of it. The others are so jolly ready to quarrel. 
I told Noel to be a man and not a snivelling 
pig, and at last he said he had not made up 
his mind whether he would print his poetry 
in a book and sell it, or find a princess and 
marry her. 

"Whichever it is," he added, "none of 
you shall want for anything, though Oswald 
did kick me and say I was a snivelling pig." 

" I didn't," said Oswald, " I told you not to 
be." And Alice explained to him that that 
was quite the opposite of what he thought. So 
he agreed to drop it. 

Then Dicky spoke. 

"You must all of you have noticed the 
advertisements in the papers, telling you that 
ladies and gentlemen can easily earn two 
pounds a week in their spare time, and to send 



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 13 

two shillings for sample and instructions, care- 
fully packed free from observation. Now that 
we don't go to school all our time is spare 
time. So I should think we could easily earn 
twenty pounds a week each. That would do 
us very w^ell. We'll try some of the other 
things first, and directly we have any money 
we'll send for the sample and instructions. 
And I have another idea, but I must think 
about it before I say." 

We all said, ''Out with it — what's the other 
idea?" 

But Dicky said, "No." That is Dicky all 
over. He never will show you anything he's 
making till it's quite finished, and the same 
with his inmost thoughts. But he is pleased 
if you seem to want to know, so Oswald 
said — 

" Keep your silly old secret, then. Now, 
Dora, drive ahead. We've all said except 
you." 

Then Dora jumped up and dropped the 
stocking and the thimble (it rolled away, and 
we did not find it for days), and said — 

" Let's try my way now. Besides, I'm the 
eldest, so it's only fair. Let's dig for treasure. 
Not any tiresome divining rod — but just plain 
digging. People who dig for treasure always 



14 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

find it. And then we shall be rich and we 
needn't try your ways at all. Some of them 
are rather difficult : and I'm certain some 
of them are wrong — and we must always 
remember that wrong things " 

But we told her to shut up and come on, 
and she did. 

I couldn't help wondering as we went down 
to the garden, why Father had never thought 
of digging there for treasure instead of going 
to his beastly office every day. 



CHAPTER II. 



15 



CHAPTEK II 

DIGGING FOE TEEASURE 

I AM afraid the last chapter was rather dull. 
It is always dull in books when people talk 
and talk, and don't do anything, but I was 
obliged to put it in, or else you wouldn't have 
understood all the rest. The best part of 
books is when things are happening. That 
is the best part of real things too. This is 
why I shall not tell you in this story about all 
the days when nothing happened. You will 
not catch me saying, " thus the sad days 
passed slowly by" — or "the years rolled on 
their weary course," or "time went on" — 
because it is silly ; of course time goes on — 
whether you say so or not. So I shall just 
tell you the nice, interesting parts — and in 
between you will understand that we had our 
meals and got up and went to bed, and dull 
things like that. It would be sickening to 



17 



18 THE TBEASUBE 8EEKEBS 

write all that down, though of course it 
happens. I said so to Albert-next-door's 
uncle, who writes books, and he said, " Quite 
right, that's what we call selection, a necessity 
of true art." And he is very clever indeed. 
So you see. 

I have often thought that if the people who 
write books for children knew a little more it 
would be better. I shall not tell you anything 
about us except what I should like to know 
about if I was reading the story and you were 
writing it. Albert's uncle says I ought to 
have put this in the preface, but I never read 
prefaces, and it is not much good writing 
things just for people to skip. I wonder other 
authors have never thought of this. 

Well, when we had agreed to dig for treasure 
we all went down into the cellar and lighted 
the gas. Oswald would have liked to dig there, 
but it is stone flags. We looked among the 
old boxes and broken chairs and fenders and 
empty bottles and things, and at last we found 
the spades we had to dig in the sand with 
when we went to the seaside three years ago. 
They are not silly, babyish, wooden spades, 
that split if you look at them, but good iron, 
with a blue mark across the top of the iron 
part, and yellow wooden handles. We wasted 



DIGGING FOB TREASURE 19 

a little time getting them dusted, because 
the girls wouldn't dig with spades that had 
cobwebs on them. Girls would never do for 
African explorers or anything like that, they 
are too beastly particular. 

It was no use doing the thing by halves. 
We marked out a sort of square in the mouldy 
part of the garden, about three yards across, 
and began to dig. But we found nothing 
except worms and stones — and the ground was 
very hard. 

So we thought we'd try another part of the 
garden, and we found a place in the big round 
flower bed, where the ground was much softer. 
We thought we'd make a smaller hole to 
begin with, and it was much better. We dug 
and dug and dug, and it was jolly hard work ! 
We got very hot digging, but we found 
nothing. 

Presently Albert-next-door looked over the 
wall. We do not like him very much, but we 
let him play with us sometimes, because his 
father is dead, and you must not be unkind to 
orphans, even if their mothers are alive. 
Albert is always very tidy. He wears frilly 
collars and velvet knickerbockers. I can't 
think how he can bear to. 

So we said, "Hullo!" 



20 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

And he said, " What are you up to ? " 

"We're digging for treasure," said Alice ; 
' ' an ancient parchment revealed to us the 
place of concealment. Come over and help us. 
When we have dug deep enough we shall find 
a great pot of red clay, full of gold and 
precious jewels." 

Albert-next-door only sniggered and said, 
''What silly nonsense!" He cannot play 
properly at all. It is very strange, because 
he has a very nice uncle. You see, Albert- 
next-door doesn't care for reading, and he has 
not read nearly so many books as we have, so 
he is very foolish and ignorant, but it cannot 
be helped, and you just have to put up with it 
when you want him to do anything. Besides, 
it is wrong to be angry with people for not 
being so clever as you are yourself. It is not 
always their faults. 

So Oswald said, "Come and dig! Then 

you shall share the treasure when we've found 

it." 

But he said, "I shan't — I don't like 

digging — and I'm just going in to my tea." 
" Come along and dig, there's a good boy," 

Alice said. "You can use my spade. It's 

much the best " 

So he came along and dug, and when once 



DIGGING FOR TBEASUBE 21 

he was over the wall we kept him at it, 
and we worked as well, of course, and the 
hole got deep. Pincher worked too — he is 
our dog and he is very good at digging. 
He digs for rats in the dustbin sometimes, 
and gets very dirty. But we love our dog, 
even when his face wants washing. 

" I expect we shall have to make a tunnel," 
Oswald said, " to reach the rich treasure." 
So he jumped into the hole and began to 
dig at one side. After that we took it in 
turns to dig at the tunnel, and Pincher was 
most useful in scraping the earth out of the 
tunnel — he does it with his back feet when 
you say " Eats ! " and he digs with his front 
ones, and burrows with his nose as well. 

At last the tunnel was nearly a yard long, 
and big enough to creep along to find the 
treasure, if only it had been a bit longer. 
Now it w^as Albert's turn to go in and dig, 
but he funked it. 

'' Take your turn like a man," said Oswald 
— nobody can say that Oswald doesn't take 
his turn like a man. But Albert wouldn't. 
So we had to make him, because it was only 
fair. 

"It's quite easy," Alice said, "You just 
crawl in and dig with your hands. Then 



22 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

when you come out we can scrape out what 
you've done, with the spades. Come — be a 
man. You won't notice it being dark in the 
tunnel if you shut your eyes tight. We've 
all been in except Dora — and she doesn't 
like worms." 

^^ I don't like worms neither." Albert-next- 
door said this ; but we remembered how he 
had picked a fat red and black worm up in 
his fingers and thrown it at Dora only the 
day before. 

So we put him in. 

But he would not go in head first, the 
proper way, and dig with his hands as we 
had done, and though Oswald was angry 
at the time, for he hates snivellers, yet 
afterwards he owned that perhaps it was just 
as well. You should never be afraid to own 
that perhaps you were mistaken — but it is 
cowardly to do it unless you are quite sure 
you are in the wrong. 

''Let me go in feet first," said Albert-next- 
door. "I'll dig with my boots — I will truly, 
honour bright." 

So we let him get in feet first — and he 
did it very slowly and at last he was in, 
and only his head sticking out into the hole ; 
and all the rest of him in the tunnel. 



DIGGING FOR TBEA8UBE 23 

"Now dig with your boots," said Oswald; 
" and Alice, do catch hold of Pincher, he'll be 
digging again in another minute, and perhaps 
it would be uncomfortable for Albert if 
Pincher threw the mould into his eyes." 

You should always try to think of these 
little things. Thinking of other people's 
comfort makes them like you. Alice held 
Pincher, and we all shouted, " Kick ! dig 
with your feet, for all you're worth!" 

So Albert-next-door began to dig with his 
feet, and we stood on the ground over him, 
waiting — and all in a minute the ground gave 
way, and we tumbled together in a heap : 
and when we got up there was a little shallow 
hollow where we had been standing, and 
Albert-next-door w^as underneath, stuck quite 
fast, because the roof of the tunnel had 
tumbled in on him. He is a horribly unlucky 
boy to have anything to do with. 

It was dreadful the way he cried and 
screamed, though he had to own it didn't 
hurt, only it was rather heavy and he couldn't 
move his legs. We would have dug him 
out all right enough, in time, but he screamed 
so we were afraid the police would come, 
so Dicky climbed over the wall, to tell the 
cook there to tell Albert-next-door's uncle he 



24 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

had been buried by mistake, and to come 
and help dig him out. 

Dicky was a long time gone. We won- 
dered what had become of him, and all the 
while the screaming went on and on, for 
we had taken the loose earth off Albert's 
face so that he could scream quite easily 
and comfortably. 

Presently Dicky came back and Albert-next- 
door's uncle came with him. He has very 
long legs, and his hair is light and his face 
is brown. He has been to sea, but now he 
writes book. I like him. 

He told his nephew to stow it, so Albert 
did, and then he asked him if he was hurt — 
and Albert had to say he wasn't, for though 
he is a coward and very unlucky, he is not 
a liar like some boys are. 

" This promises to be a protracted if agree- 
able task," said Albert - next - door's uncle, 
rubbing his hands and looking at the hole 
with Albert's head in it. "I will get another 
spade," so he fetched the big spade out of 
the next door garden tool-shed, and began 
to dig his nephew out. 

''Mind you keep very still," he said, ''or 
I might chunk a bit out of you with the 
spade." Then after a while he said — 



DIGGING FOR TREASURE 25 

*' I confess that I am not absolutely in- 
sensible to the dramatic interest of the 
situation. My curiosity is excited. I own 
that I should like to know how my nephew 
happened to be buried. But don't tell me 
if you'd rather not. I suppose no force was 
used?" 

^'Only moral force," said Alice. They 
used to talk a lot about moral force at the 
High School where she went, and in case 
you don't know what it means I'll tell you 
that it is making people do what they don't 
want to, just by slanging them, or laughing 
at them, or promising them things if they're 
good. 

" Only moral force, eh? " said Albert-next- 
door's uncle. "Well?" 

"Well," Dora said, "I'm very sorry it 
happened to Albert — I'd rather it had been 
one of us. It would have been my turn to 
go into the tunnel, only I don't like worms, 
so they let me off. You see we were digging 
for treasure." 

"Yes," said Alice, "and I think we were 
just coming to the underground passage that 
leads to the secret hoard, when the tunnel 
fell in on Albert. He is so unlucky," and she 
sighed. 



26 THE TREASUBE SEEKERS 

Then Albert -next -door began to scream 
again, and his uncle wiped his face — his own 
face, not Albert's — with his silk handkerchief, 
and then he put it in his trousers pocket. 
It seems a strange place to put a hand- 
kerchief, but he had his coat and waistcoat 
off and I suppose he wanted the handkerchief 
handy. Digging is warm work. 

He told Albert - next - door to drop it, or 
he wouldn't proceed further in the matter, 
so Albert stopped screaming, and presently 
his uncle finished digging him out. Albert 
did look so funny, with his hair all dusty 
and his velvet suit covered with mould and 
his face muddy with earth and crying. 

We all said how sorry we were, but he 
wouldn't say a word back to us. He was 
most awfully sick to think he'd been the 
one buried, when it might just as well have 
been one of us. I felt myself that it was hard 
lines. 

'' So you were digging for treasure," said 
Albert-next-door's uncle, wiping his face again 
with his handkerchief. "Well, I fear that 
your chances of success are small. I have 
made a careful study of the whole subject. 
What I don't know about buried treasure is 
not worth knowing. And I never knew more 



DIGGING FOB TBEA8UBE 27 

than one coin buried in any one garden — 

and that is generally Hullo — what's 

that ? " 

He pointed to something shining in the 
hole he had just dragged Albert out of. 
Oswald picked it up. It was a half-crown. 
We looked at each other, speechless with 
surprise and delight, like in books. 

'' Well, that's lucky, at all events," said 
Albert-next-door's uncle. "Let's see, that's 
fivepence each for you." 

" It's fourpence — something ; I can't do 
fractions," said Dicky; "there are seven of 
us, you see." 

" Oh, you count Albert as one of yourselves 
on this occasion, eh ? " 

"Of course," said Alice; "and I say, he 
was buried after all. Why shouldn't we let 
him have the odd somethings, and we'll have 
fourpence each." 

We all agreed to this, and told Albert-next- 
door we would bring his share as soon as 
we could get the half-crown changed. He 
cheered up a little at that, and his uncle 
wiped his face again — he did look hot — and 
began to put on his coat and waistcoat. 

When he had done it he stooped and picked 
up something. He held it up, and you will 



28 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

hardly believe it, but it is quite true — it 
was another half-crown ! 

'' To think that there should be two ! " he 
said ; '^ in all my experience of buried treasure 
I never heard of such a thing ! " 

I wish Albert-next-door's uncle would come 
treasure-seeking with us regularly ; he must 
have very sharp eyes : for Dora says she was 
looking just the minute before at the very 
place where the second half-crown was picked 
up from, and she never saw it. 



CHAPTER IIL 



29 



CHAPTEE III 

BEING DETECTIVES 

The next thing that happened to us was very 
interesting. It was as real as the half-crowns 
— not just pretending. I shall try to write it 
as like a real book as I can. Of course we 
have read Mr. Sherlock Holmes, as well as 
the yellow-covered books with pictures outside 
that are so badly printed ; and you get them 
for fourpence halfpenny at the bookstall 
when the corners of them are beginning to 
curl up and get dirty, with people looking to 
see how the story ends when they are waiting 
for trains. I think this is most unfair to the 
boy at the bookstall. The books are written 
by a gentleman named Gaboriau, and Albert's 
uncle says they are the worst translations in 
the world — and written in vile English. Of 
course they're not like Kipling, but they're 
jolly good stories. And we had just been 

31 



32 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

reading a book by Dick Diddlington — that's 
not his right name, but I know all about libel 
actions, so I shall not say what his name is 
really, because his books are rot. Only they 
put it into our heads to do what I am going 
to narrate. 

It was in September, and we were not to go 
to the seaside because it is so expensive, even if 
you go to Sheerness, where it is all tin cans and 
old boots and no sand at all. But every one 
else went, even the people next door — not 
Albert's side, but the other. Their servant 
told Eliza they were all going to Scarborough, 
and next day sure enough all the blinds were 
down and the shutters up, and the milk was 
not left any more. There is a big horse- 
chestnut tree between their garden and ours, 
very useful for getting conkers out of and for 
making stuff to rub on your chilblains. This 
prevented our seeing w^hether the blinds were 
down at the back as well, but Dicky climbed 
to the top of the tree and looked, and they 
were. 

It was jolly hot weather, and very stuffy 
indoors — we used to play a good deal in the 
garden. We made a tent out of the kitchen 
clothes-horse and some blankets off our beds, 
and though it was quite as hot in the tent as 



BEING DETECTIVES 33 

in the house it was a very different sort of 
hotness. Albert's uncle called it the Turkish 
Bath. It is not nice to be kept from the sea- 
side, but we know that we have much to be 
thankful for. We might be poor little children 
living in a crowded alley where even at 
summer noon hardly a ray of sunlight 
penetrates ; clothed in rags and with bare 
feet — though I do not mind holes in my clothes 
myself, and bare feet would not be at all bad 
in this sort of weather. Indeed we do, some- 
times, when we are playing at things which 
require it. It was shipwrecked mariners that 
day, I remember, and we were all in the 
blanket tent. We had just finished eating 
the things we had saved, at the peril of our 
lives, from the fast-sinking vessel. They were 
rather nice things. Two pennyworth of cocoa- 
nut candy — it was got in Greenwich, where it 
is four ounces a penny — three apples, some 
macaroni — the straight sort that is so useful 
to suck things through — some raw rice, and a 
large piece of cold suet pudding that Alice 
nicked from the larder when she went to get 
the rice and macaroni. And when we had 
finished some one said — 

"I should like to be a detective." 

I wish to be quite fair, but I cannot remem- 



34 THE TEEASUBE SEEKEBS 

ber exactly who said it. Oswald thinks he said 
it, and Dora says it was Dicky, but Oswald 
is too much of a man to quarrel about a 
little thing like that. 

"I should like to be a detective," said — 
perhaps it was Dicky, but I think not — " and 
find out strange and hidden crimes." 

'' You have to be much cleverer than you 
are," said H. 0. 

^' Not so very," Alice said, " because when 
you've read the books you know what the 
things mean : the red hair on the handle of 
the knife, or the grains of white powder on 
the velvet collar of the villain's overcoat. I 
believe we could do it." 

^' I shouldn't like to have anything to do 
with murders," said Dora; "somehow it 
doesn't seem safe " 

"And it always ends in the poor murderer 
being hanged," said Alice. 

We explained to her why murderers have 
to be hanged, but she only said, " I don't 
care. I'm sure no one would ever do murder- 
ing twice. Think of the blood and things, and 
what you would see when you woke up in the 
night ! I shouldn't mind being a detective to 
lie in wait for a gang of coiners, now^, and 
spring upon them unawares, and secure them 



BEING DETECTIVES 35 

— single handed, you know, or with only my 
faithful bloodhound." 

She stroked Pincher's ears, but he had gone 
to sleep because he knew well enough that all 
the suet pudding was finished. He is a very 
sensible dog. 

^' You always get hold of the wrong end of 
the stick," Oswald said. " You can't choose 
what crimes you'll be a detective about. You 
just have to get a suspicious circumstance, 
and then you look for a clue and follow it up. 
Whether it turns out a murder or a missing 
will is just a fluke." 

" That's one way," Dicky said. '' Another 
is to get a paper and find two advertisements 
or bits of news that fit. Like this : ' Young 
Lady Missing,' and then it tells about all the 
clothes she had on, and the gold locket she 
wore, and the colour of her hair, and all that ; 
and then in another piece of the paper you 
see, ' Gold locket found,' and then it all 
comes out." 

We sent H. 0. for the paper at once, but we 
could not make any of the things fit in. The 
two best were about how some burglars broke 
into a place in Holloway where they made 
preserved tongues and invalid delicacies, and 
carried off a lot of them. And on another 



36 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

page there was, " Mysterious deaths in Hollo- 
way." Oswald thought there was something 
in it, and so did Albert's uncle when we asked 
him, but the others thought not, so Oswald 
agreed to drop it. Besides, Hollo way is a long 
way off. All the time we were talking about 
the paper Alice seemed to be thinking about 
something else, and when we had done she 
said — 

^' I believe we might be detectives ourselves, 
but I should not like to get anybody into 
trouble." 

'' Not murderers or robbers ? " Dicky asked. 

" It wouldn't be murderers," she said ; ^' but 
I have noticed something strange. Only I 
feel a little frightened. Let's ask Albert's 
uncle first." 

Alice is a jolly sight too fond of asking 
grown-up people things. And we all said it 
was Tommy-rot, and she was to tell us. 

"" Well, promise you won't do anything with- 
out me," Alice said, and we promised. Then 
she said — 

" This is a dark secret, and any one who 
thinks it is better not to be involved in a 
career of crime-discovery had better go away 
ere yet it be too late." 

So Dora said she had had enough of tents, 



BEING DETECTIVES 37 

and she was going to look at the shops. H.O. 
went with her because he had twopence to 
spend. They thought it was only a game of 
Alice's, but Oswald knew by the way she 
spoke. He can nearly always tell. And 
when people are not telling the truth Oswald 
generally knows by the way they look with 
their eyes. Oswald is not proud of being able 
to do this. He knows it is through no merit 
of his own that he is much cleverer than some 
people. 

When they had gone, the rest of us got 
closer together and said — 



"Now then." 

" Well," Alice said, " you know the house 
next door ? The people have gone to Scar- 
borough. And the house is shut up. But 
last night I sazu a light in the tvindoivs.'" 

We asked her how and when, because her 
room is in the front, and she couldn't possibly 
have seen. And then she said — 

"I'll tell you if you boys will promise not 
ever to go fishing again without me." 

So we had to promise. Then she said — 

" It was last night. I had forgotten to 
feed my rabbits, and I woke up and remem- 
bered it. And I was afraid I should find 
them dead in the morning, like Oswald did." 



38 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

*^ It wasn't my fault," Oswald said; ^' there 
was something the matter with the beasts. I 
fed them right enough." 

Alice said she didn't mean that, and she 
went on — 

" I came down into the garden, and I saw a 
light in the house, and dark figures moving 
about. I thought perhaps it was burglars, 
but Father hadn't come home, and Eliza had 
gone to bed, so I couldn't do anything. Only 
I thought perhaps I w^ould tell the rest of you." 

"Why didn't you tell us this morning?" 
Noel asked. And Alice explained that she 
did not want to get any one into trouble, even 
burglars. " But we might watch to-night," 
she said, " and see if we see the light again." 

" They might have been burglars," Noel 
said. He was sucking the last bit of his 
macaroni. " You know the people next door 
are very grand. They won't know us — and 
they go out in a real private carriage some- 
times. And they have an ' At Home ' day, 
and people come in cabs. I daresay they 
have piles of plate and jewelry and rich bro- 
cades, and furs of price and things like that. 
Let us keep watch to-night." 

"It's no use watching to-night," Dicky 
said; "if it's only burglars they won't come 



BEING DETECTIVES 39 

again. But there are other things besides 
burglars that are discovered in empty houses 
where lights are seen moving." 

"You mean coiners," said Oswald at once. 
" I wonder what the reward is for setting the 
police on their track ? " 

Dicky thought it ought to be something fat, 
because coiners are always a desperate gang ; 
and the machinery they make the coins with 
is so heavy and handy for knocking down 
detectives. 

Then it was tea-time, and we went in ; and 
Dora and H. 0. had clubbed their money to- 
gether and bought a melon ; quite a big one, 
and only a little bit squashy at one end. It 
was very good, and then we washed the 
seeds and made things with them and with 
pins and cotton. And nobody said any more 
about watching the house next door. 

Only when we went to bed Dicky took off 
his coat and waistcoat, but he stopped at his 
braces, and said — 

" What about the coiners ? ' 

Oswald had taken off his collar and tie, and 
he was just going to say the same, so he 
said, " Of course I meant to watch, only my 
collar's rather tight, so I thought I'd take 
it off first." 



40 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

Dicky said he did not think the girls ought 
to be in it, because there might be danger, 
but Oswald reminded him that they had pro- 
mised Alice, and that a promise is a sacred 
thing, even when you'd much rather not. So 
Oswald got Alice alone under pretence of 
showing her a caterpillar — Dora does not like 
them, and she screamed and ran away when 
Oswald offered to show it her. Then Oswald 
explained, and Alice agreed to come and watch 
if she could. This made us later than we 
ought to have been, because Alice had to wait 
till Dora was quiet and then creep out very 
slowly, for fear of the boards creaking. The 
girls sleep with their room-door open for fear 
of burglars. Alice had kept on her clothes 
under her nightgown when Dora wasn't look- 
ing, and presently we got down creeping past 
Father's study, and out at the glass door that 
leads on to the verandah and the iron steps into 
the garden. And we went down very quietly, 
and got into the chestnut tree, and then I felt 
that we had only been playing what Albert's 
uncle calls our favourite instrument — I mean 
the Fool. For the house next door was as dark 
as dark. Then suddenly we heard a sound — 
it came from the gate at the end of the 
garden. All the gardens have gates ; they 




"Presently we got down creeping past father's study. 



BEING DETECTIVES 41 

lead into a kind of lane that runs behind 
them. It is a sort of back way, very conve- 
nient when you don't want to say exactly 
where you are going. We heard the gate at 
the end of the next garden click, and Dicky 
nudged Alice so that she would have fallen 
out of the tree if it had not been for Oswald's 
extraordinary presence of mind. Oswald 
squeezed Alice's arm tight, and we all looked ; 
and the others were rather frightened be- 
cause really we had not exactly expected any- 
thing to happen except perhaps a light. But 
now a mufSed figure, shrouded in a dark cloak, 
came swiftly up the path of the next door 
garden. And we could see that under its 
cloak the figure carried a mysterious burden. 
The figure was dressed to look like a woman 
in a sailor hat. 

We held our breath as it passed under the 
tree where we were, and then it tapped very 
gently on the back door and was let in, and 
then a light appeared in the window of the 
downstairs back breakfast-room. But the 
shutters were up. 

Dicky said, " My eye ! " and wouldn't the 
others be sick to think they hadn't been in 
this ! but Alice didn't half like it — and as she 
is a girl I do not blame her. Indeed, I 



42 THE TREASUBE SEEKERS 

thought myself at first that perhaps it would 
be better to retire for the present, and return 
later with a strongly armed force. 

'' It's not burglars ; " Alice whispered, " the 
mysterious stranger was bringing things in, 
not taking them out. They must be coiners 
— and oh, Oswald ! — don't let's ! The things 
they coin with must hurt very much. Do 
let's go to bed !" 

But Dicky said he was going to see ; if 
there was a reward for finding out things like 
this he would like to have the reward. 

^' They locked the back door," he whispered, 
" I heard it go. And I could look in quite 
well through the holes in the shutters and be 
back over the wall long before they'd got the 
door open, even if they started to do it at 
once." 

There were holes at the top of the shutters 
the shape of hearts, and the yellow light came 
out through them as well as through the 
chinks of the shutters. 

Oswald said if Dicky went he should, be- 
cause he was the eldest; and Alice said, " If 
any one goes it ought to be me, because I 
thought of it." 

So Oswald said, ''Well, go then"; and she 
said, ''Not for anything!" And she begged 



BEING DETECTIVES 43 

US not to, and we talked about it in the tree 
till we were all quite hoarse with whispering. 

At last we decided on a plan of action. 

Alice was to stay in the tree, and scream 
"Murder!" if anything happened. Dicky and 
I were to get down into the next garden and 
take it in turns to peep. 

So we got down as quietly as we could, but 
the tree made much more noise than it does 
in the day, and several times we paused, fear- 
ing that all was discovered. But nothing 
happened. 

There was a pile of red flower-pots under 
the window and one very large one was on the 
window-ledge. It seemed as if it was the 
hand of Destiny had placed it there, and 
the geranium in it was dead, and there was 
nothing to stop your standing on it — so Oswald 
did. He went first because he is the eldest, 
and though Dicky tried to stop him because 
he thought of it first it could not be, on 
account of not being able to say anything. 

So Oswald stood on the flower-pot and tried 
to look through one of the holes. He did not 
really expect to see the coiners at their fell 
work, though he had pretended to when we 
were talking in the tree. But if he had seen 
them pouring the base molten metal into tin 



44 THE T BE A SURE SEEKEBS 

moulds the shape of half-crowns he would 
not have been half so astonished as he was at 
the spectacle now revealed. 

At first he could see little, because the hole 
had unfortunately been made a little too high, 
so that the eye of the detective should only 
see the Prodigal Son in a shiny frame on the 
opposite wall. But Oswald held on to the 
window-frame and stood on tiptoe and then he 
saw. 

There was no furnace, and no base metal, 
no bearded men in leathern aprons with tongs 
and things, but just a table with a table-cloth 
on it for supper, and a tin of salmon and a 
lettuce and some bottled beer. And there on 
a chair was the cloak and the hat of the 
mysterious stranger, and the two people sitting 
at the table were the two youngest grown-up 
daughters of the lady next door, and one of 
them was saying — 

*^ So I got the salmon three-halfpence 
cheaper, and the lettuces are only six a penny 
in the Broadway, just fancy ! We must save 
as much as ever we can on our housekeeping 
money if we want to go away decent next 
year." 

And the other said, "I wish we could all 

go every year, or else Really, I almost 

wish " 



BEING DETECTIVES 45 

And all the time Oswald was looking Dicky 
was pulling at his jacket to make him get 
down and let Dicky have a squint. And just 
as she said " I almost," Dicky pulled too hard 
and Oswald felt himself toppling on the giddy 
verge of the big flower-pot. Putting forth all 
his strength our hero strove to recover his 
equi-what's-its-name, but it was now lost 
beyond recall. 

'^ You've done it this time ! " he said, then 
he fell heavily among the flower-pots piled 
below. He heard them crash and rattle and 
crack, and then his head struck against an 
iron pillar used for holding up the next door 
verandah. His eyes closed and he knew no more. 

Now you will perhaps expect that at this 
moment Alice would have cried "Murder!" 
If you think so you little know what girls are. 
Directly she was left alone in that tree she 
made a bolt to tell Albert's uncle all about it 
and bring him to our rescue in case the 
coiners' gang was a very desperate one. And 
just when I fell, Albert's uncle was getting 
over the wall. Alice never screamed at all 
when Oswald fell, but Dicky thinks he heard 
Albert's uncle say, '^Confound those kids!" 
which would not have been kind or polite, so 
I hope he did not say it. 



46 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

The people next door did not come out to 
see what the row was. Albert's uncle did not 
wait for them to come out. He picked up 
Oswald and carried the insensible body of the 
gallant young detective to the wall, laid it on 
the top, and then climbed over and bore his life- 
less burden into our house and put it on the 
sofa in Father's study. Father was out, so we 
needn't have crept so when we were getting into 
the garden. Then Oswald was restored to 
consciousness, and his head tied up, and sent 
to bed, and next day there was a lump on his 
young brow as big as a turkey's egg, and very 
uncomfortable. 

Albert's uncle came in next day and talked 
to each of us separately. To Oswald he said 
many unpleasant things about ungentlemanly 
to spy on ladies, and about minding your own 
business ; and when I began to tell him what I 
had heard he told me to shut up, and altogether 
he made me more uncomfortable than the 
bump did. 

Oswald did not say anything to any one, but 
next day, as the shadows of eve were falling, 
he crept away, and wrote on a piece of paper, 
" I want to speak to you," and shoved it 
through the hole like a heart in the top of the 
next door shutters. 



BEING DETECTIVES 47 

And the youngest young lady put an eye to 
the heart-shaped hole, and then opened the 
shutter and said "Well?" very crossly. 

Then Oswald said — 

"I am very sorry, and I beg your pardon. 
We wanted to be detectives, and we thought a 
gang of coiners infested your house, so we 
looked through your window last night. I 
saw the lettuce, and I heard what you said 
about the salmon being three-halfpence 
cheaper, and I know it is very dishonourable 
to pry into other people's secrets, especially 
ladies', and I never will again if you will for- 
give me this once." 

Then the lady frowned and then she laughed, 
and then she said — 

"So it was you tumbling into the flower- 
pots last night ? We thought it was burglars. 
It frightened us horribly. Why, what a bump 
on your poor head ! " 

And then she talked to me a bit, and pre- 
sently she said she and her sister had not 
wished people to know they were at home, 

because and then she stopped short and 

grew very red, and I said, " I thought you 
were all at Scarborough ; your servant told 
Eliza so. Why didn't you want people to 
know you were at home ? " 



48 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

The lady got redder still, and then she 
laughed and said — 

" Never mind the reason why. I hope your 
head doesn't hurt much. Thank you for 
your nice, manly little speech. Yoitve nothing 
to be ashamed of, at any rate." Then she 
kissed me, and I did not mind. And then she 
said, " Eun away now, dear. I'm going to — 
I'm going to pull up the blinds and open the 
shutters, and I want to do it at once, before it 
gets dark, so that every one can see we're at 
home, and not at Scarborough." 



CHAPTEB IV. 



49 



CHAPTEE IV 



GOOD HUNTING 



When we had got that four shillings by digging 
for treasure we ought, by rights, to have tried 
Dicky's idea of answering the advertisement 
about ladies and gentlemen and spare time and 
two pounds a week, but there were several 
things we rather wanted. 

Dora wanted a new pair of scissors, and she 
said she was going to get them with her eight- 
pence. But Alice said — 

"You ought to get her those, Oswald, 
because you know you broke the points off 
hers getting the marble out of the brass 
thimble." 

It was quite true, though I had almost for- 
gotten it, but then it was H. 0. who jammed 
the marble into the thimble first of all. So I 
said — 

"It's H. O.'s fault as much as mine, any- 
how. Why shouldn't he pay ? '* 

51 



52 THE TEE AS U BE SEEKERS 

Oswald didn't so much mind paying for the 
beastly scissors, but he hates injustice of every 
kind. 

*' He's such a little kid," said Dicky, and of 
course H. 0. said he wasn't a little kid, and it 
very nearly came to being a row between 
them. But Oswald knows when to be gene- 
rous ; so he said — 

" Look here ! I'll pay sixpence of the scis- 
sors, and H. 0. shall pay the rest, to teach 
him to be careful." 

H. 0. agreed : he is not at all a mean kid, 
but I found out afterwards that Alice paid 
his share out of her own money. 

Then we wanted some new paints, and Noel 
wanted a pencil and a halfpenny account-book 
to write poetry with, and it does seem hard 
never to have any apples. So, somehow or 
other nearly all the money got spent, and we 
agreed that we must let the advertisement 
run loose a little longer. 

" I only hope," Alice said, " that they won't 
have got all the ladies and gentlemen they 
want before we have got the money to write 
for the sample and instructions." 

And I was a little afraid myself, because it 
seemed such a splendid chance ; but we looked 
in the paper every day, and the advertisement 




He cut every single one of his best buttons off. 



GOOD HUNTING 53 

was always there, so we thought it was all 
right. 

Then we had the detective try-on — and it 
proved no go ; and then, when all the money 
was gone, except a halfpenny of mine and two- 
pence of Noel's and threepence of Dicky's and 
a few pennies that the girls had left, we held 
another comicil. 

Dora was sewing the buttons on H. O.'s 
Sunday things. He got himself a knife with 
his money, and he cut every single one of his 
best buttons off. You've no idea how many 
buttons there are on a suit. Dora counted 
them. There are twenty-four, counting the 
little ones on the sleeves that don't undo. 

Alice was trying to teach Pincher to beg ; 
but he has too much sense when he knows 
you've got nothing in your hands, and the 
rest of us were roasting potatoes under the 
fire. We had made a fire on purpose, though 
it was rather warm. They are very good if 
you cut away the burnt parts — but you ought 
to wash them first, or you are a dirty boy. 

" Well, what can we do ? " said Dicky. 
" You are so fond of saying 'Let's do some- 
thing ! ' and never saying what." 

" We can't try the advertisement yet. Shall 
we try rescuing some one ? " said Oswald. It 



54 THE TREA8UBE SEEKEBS 

was his own idea, but he didn't insist on doing 
it, though he is next to the eldest, for he 
knows it is bad manners to make people do 
what you want, when they would rather not. 

" What was Noel's plan ? " AHce asked. 

"A Princess or a poetry book," said Noel 
sleepily. He was lying on his back on the 
sofa, kicking his legs. " Only I shall look for 
the Princess all by myself. But I'll let you 
see her when we're married." 

^' Have you got enough poetry to make a 
book ? " Dicky asked that, and it was rather 
sensible of him, because when Noel came to 
look there were only seven of his poems that 
any of us could understand. There was the 
"Wreck of the Malabar,''' and the poem he 
wrote when Eliza took us to hear the Eeviving 
Preacher, and everybody cried, and Father 
said it must have been the Preacher's Elo- 
quence. 

So Noel wrote — 



Oh Eloquence and what art thou ? 

Ay what art thou ? because we cried 

And everybody cried inside 

When they came out their eyes were red — 

And it was your doing Father said. 

But Noel told Alice he got the first line and 
a half from a book a boy at school was going 




CD 
5 



CD 

?>^ 

CD 
O 

CO 

"cD 



GOOD HUNTING 55 

to write when he had time. Besides this there 
were the "Lines on a Dead Black Beetle 
that was poisoned " : — 

Oh Beetle how I weep to see 

Thee lying on thy poor back ! 
It is so very sad indeed. 

You were so shiny and black. 
I wish you were alive again 
But Eliza says wishing it is nonsense and a shame. 

It was very good beetle poison, and there 
were hundreds of them lying dead — but Noel 
only wrote a piece of poetry for one of them. 
He said he hadn't time to do them all, and the 
worst of it was he didn't know which one he'd 
written it to — so Alice couldn't bury the beetle 
and put the lines on its grave, though she 
wanted to very much. 

Well, it was quite plain that there wasn't 
enough poetry for a book. 

We might wait a year or two," said Noel. 

I shall be sure to make some more sometime. 
I thought of a piece about a fly this morning 
that knew condensed milk was sticky." 

"But we want the money no iv,'' said Dicky, 
" and you can go on writing just the same. It 
will come in sometime or other." 

" There's poetry in newspapers," said Alice. 






56 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

" Down, Pincher ! you'll never be a clever dog, 
so it's no good trying." 

" Do they pay for it ? " Dicky thought of 
that ; he often thinks of things that are really 
important, even if they are a little dull. 

*'I don't know. But I shouldn't think any 
one would let them print their poetry without. 
I wouldn't I know." That was Dora; but 
Noel said he wouldn't mind if he didn't get 
paid, so long as he saw his poetry printed and 
his name at the end. 

''We might try, anyway," said Oswald. He 
is always willing to give other people's ideas 
a fair trial. 

So we copied out "The Wreck of the 
Malabar " and the other six poems on draw- 
ing-paper — Dora did it, she writes best — and 
Oswald drew a picture of the Malahar going- 
down with all hands. It was a full-rigged 
schooner, and all the ropes and sails were 
correct ; because my cousin is in the Navy, 
and he showed me. 

We thought a long time whether we'd write 
a letter and send it by post with the poetry — 
and Dora thought it would be best. But Noel 
said he couldn't bear not to know at once if 
the paper would print the poetry, so we de- 
cided to take it. 



GOOD HUNTING 57 

I went with Noel, because I am the eldest, 
and he is not old enough to go to London 
by himself. Dicky said poetry was rot — and 
he was glad he hadn't got to make a fool of 
himself : that was because there was not enough 
money for him to go with us. H. 0. couldn't 
come either, but he came to the station to see 
us off, and waved his cap and called out 
*' Good hunting ! " as the train started. 

There was a lady in spectacles in the corner. 
She was writing with a pencil on the edges of 
long strips of paper that had print all down 
them. 

When the train started she asked — 

" What was that he said ? " 

So Oswald answered — 

^' It was ' Good hunting ' — it's out of the 
Jungle book ! " 

"That's very pleasant to hear," the lady 
said; "I am very pleased to meet people who 
know their Jungle book. And where are you 
ofi to — the Zoological Gardens to look for 
Bagheera ? " 

We were pleased, too, to meet some one who 
knew the Jungle book. 

So Oswald said — 

" We are going to restore the fallen fortunes 
of the House of Bastable — and we have all 



58 THE TBEA8UBE SEEKEBS 

thought of different ways — and we're going 
to try them all. Noel's way is poetry. I 
suppose great poets get paid?" 

The lady laughed — she was awfully jolly — 
and said she was a sort of poet, too, and the 
long strips of paper were the proofs of her 
new book of stories. Because before a book 
is made into a real book with pages and a 
cover, they sometimes print it all on strips of 
paper, and the writer make marks on it with 
a pencil to show the printers what idiots they 
are not to understand what a writer means to 
have printed. 

We told her all about digging for treasure, 
and what we meant to do. Then she asked 
to see Noel's poetry — and he said he didn't 
like — so she said, "Look here — if you'll show 
me yours I'll show you some of mine." So 
he agreed. 

The jolly lady read Noel's poetry, and she 
said she liked it very much. And she thought 
a great deal of the picture of the Malabar. 
And then she said, " I write serious poetry 
like yours myself, too, but I have a piece here 
that I think you will like because it's about a 
boy." She gave it to us — and so I can copy 
it down, and I will, for it shows that some 
grown-up ladies are not so silly as others. I like 



GOOD HUNTING 59 

it better than Noel's poetry, though I told him 
I did not, because he looked as if he was going 
to cry. This was very wrong, for you should 
always speak the truth, however unhappy it 
makes people. And I generally do. But I 
did not want him crying in the railway 
carriage. 

The lady's piece of poetry : — 



Oh when I wake up in my bed 
And see the sun all fat and red, 
I'm glad to have another day 
For all my different kinds of play. 

There are so many things to do — 
The things that make a man of you, 
If grown-ups did not get so vexed 
And wonder what you will do next. 

I often wonder whether they 
Ever made up our kinds of play — 
If they were always good as gold 
And only did what they were told 

They like you best to play with tops 
And toys in boxes, bought in shops ; 
They do not even know the names 
Of really interesting games. 

They will not let you play with fire 
Or trip your sisters up with wire. 
They grudge the tea-tray for a drum, 
Or booby-traps when callers come. 



60 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

They don't like fishing, and it's true 
You sometimes soak a suit or two : 
They look on fireworks, though they're dry, 
With quite a disapproving eye. 

They do not understand the way 
To get the most out of your day : 
They do not know how hunger feels 
Nor what you need between your meals. 

And when you're sent to bed at night 
They're happy, but they're not polite. 
For through the door you hear them say : 
" He's done his mischief for the day ! " 

She told us a lot of other pieces but I can- 
not remember them, and she talked to us all 
the way up, and when we got nearly to Cannon 
Street she said — 

" I've got two new shillings here ! Do you 
think they would help to smooth the path to 
Fame?" 

Noel said, " Thank you," and was going to 
take the shilling. But Oswald, who always 
remembers what he is told, said — 

" Thank you very much, but Father told 
us we ought never to take anything from 
strangers." 

^' That's a nasty one," said the lady — she 
didn't talk a bit like a real lady, but more like 
a jolly sort of grown-up boy in a dress and hat 



GOOD HUNTING 61 

— '^ a very nasty one ! But don't you think as 
Noel and I are both poets I might be considered 
a sort of relation ? You've heard of brother 
poets, haven't you ? Don't you think Noel 
and I are aunt and nephew poets, or some 
relationship of that kind?" 

I didn't know what to say, and she went 
on — 

'' It's awfully straight of you to stick to 
what your Father tells you, but look here, 
you take the shillings, and here's my card. 
When you get home tell your Father all about 
it, and if he says No, you can just bring the 
shillings back to me." 

So we took the shillings, and she shook 
hands with us and said, " Goodbye, and good 
hunting ! " 

We did tell Father about it, and he said it 
was all right, and when he looked at the card 
he told us we were highly honoured, for the 
lady wrote better poetry than any other lady 
alive now. We had never heard of her, and she 
seemed much too jolly for a poet. Good old 
Kipling ! We owe him those two shillings, as 
well as the Jungle books ! 



GHAPTEB F. 



63 



CHAPTER Y 

THE POET AND THE EDITOE 

It was not bad sport — being in London en- 
tirely on our own hook. We asked the way 
to Fleet Street, where Father says all the 
newspaper offices are. They said straight on 
down Ludgate Hill — but it turned out to be 
quite another way. At least ive didn't go 
straight on. 

We got to St. Paul's. Noel would go in, 
and we saw where Gordon was buried — at 
least the monument. It is very flat, con- 
sidering what a man he was. 

When we came out we walked a long way, 
and when we asked a policeman he said we'd 
better go back through Smithfield. So we did. 
They don't burn people any more there now, 
so it was rather dull, besides being a long- 
way, and Noel got very tired. He's a peaky 
little chap ; it comes of being a poet, I think. 

6 65 



66 THE TREA8UBE SEEKEBS 

We had a bun or two at different shops — out 

of the shilHngs — and it was quite late in the 

afternoon when we got to Fleet Street. The 

gas was lighted and the electric lights. There 

is a jolly Bovril sign that comes ofi and on in 

diferent coloured lamps. We went to the 

Daily Becorder office, and asked to see the 

Editor. It is a big office, very bright, with 

brass and mahogany and electric lights. 

They told us the Editor wasn't there, but 

at another office. So we went down a dirty 

street, to a very dull-looking place. There 

w^as a man there inside, in a glass case, as 

if he was a museum, and he told us to write 

down our names and our business. So Oswald 

wrote — 

Oswald Bastable. 
Noel Bastable. 

Btisiness very private indeed. 

Then we waited on the stone stairs ; it was 
very draughty. And the man in the glass 
case looked at us as if we were the museum 
instead of him. We waited a long time, and 
then a boy came down and said — 



" The Editor can't see you. Will you 
please write your business? " And he laughed. 
I wanted to punch his head. 



THE POET AND THE EDITOR 67 

But Noel said, " Yes, I'll write it if you'll 
give me a pen and ink, and a sheet of paper 
and an envelope." 

The boy said he'd better write by post. But 
Noel is a bit pig-headed ; it's his worst fault, 
so he said — 

^' No, I'll write it now/' So I backed him 
up by saying — 

" Look at the price penny stamps are since 
the coal strike ! " 

So the boy grinned, and the man in the 
glass case gave us pen and paper, and Noel 
wrote. Oswald writes better than he does ; 
but Noel would do it ; and it took a very long 
time, and then it was inky. 

" Dear Mr. Editor, — I want you to print 
my poetry and pay for it, and I am a friend 
of Mrs. Leslie's ; she is a poet too. 
" Your affectionate friend, 

" Noel Bastable." 

He licked the envelope a good deal, so that 
that boy shouldn't read it going upstairs ; and 
he wrote " Very private " outside, and gave 
the letter to the boy. I thought it wasn't any 
good ; but in a minute the grinning boy came 
back, and he was quite respectful, and said — 

" The Editor says, please will you step up?" 



68 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

We stepped up. There were a lot of stairs 
and passages, and a queer sort of humming, 
hammering sound and a very funny smell. 
The boy was now very polite, and said it was 
the ink we smelt, and the noise was the 
printing machines. 

After going through a lot of cold passages 
we came to a door ; the boy opened it, and let 
us go in. There was a large room, with a big, 
soft, blue-and-red carpet, and a roaring fire, 
though it was only October ; and a large table 
with drawers, and littered Y\^ith papers, just 
like the one in father's study. A gentleman 
was sitting at one side of the table ; he had a 
light moustache and light eyes, and he looked 
very young to be an editor — not nearly so old 
as Father. He looked very tired and sleepy, 
as if he had got up very early in the morning ; 
but he was kind, and we liked him. Oswald 
thought he looked clever. Oswald is con- 
sidered a judge of faces. 

" Well," said he, ''so you are Mrs. Leslie's 
friends?" 

"I think so," said Noel; "at least she 
gave us each a shilling, and she wished us 
' good hunting ! ' " 

"Good hunting, eh? Well, what about 
this poetry of yours ? Which is the poet ? ' 



THE POET AND THE EDITOR 69 

I can't think how he could have asked ! 
Oswald is said to be a very manly-looking boy 
for his age. However, I thought it would look 
duffing to be offended, so I said — 

''This is my brother Noel. He is the poet." 

Noel had turned quite pale. He is dis- 
gustingly like a girl in some ways. The 
Editor told us to sit down, and he took the 
poems from Noel, and began to read them. 
Noel got paler and paler ; I really thought he 
was going to faint, like he did when I held his 
hand under the cold water tap, after I had 
accidentally cut him with my chisel. When 
the Editor had read the first poem — it was the 
one about the beetle — he got up and stood 
with his back to us. It was not manners ; 
but Noel thinks he did it "to conceal his 
emotion," as they do in books. 

He read all the poems, and then he said — 

" I like your poetry very much, young man. 
I'll give you — let me see ; how much shall 
I give you for it ? " 

" As much as ever you can," said Noel. 
'' You see I want a good deal of money to 
restore the fallen fortunes of the house of 
Bastable." 

The gentleman put on some eye-glasses and 
looked hard at us. Then he sat down. 



70 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

" That's a good idea," said he. " Tell me 
how you came to think of it. And, I say, 
have you had any tea ? They've just sent 
out for mine." 

He rang a tingly bell, and the boy brought 
in a tray with a teapot and a thick cup and 
saucer and things, and he had to fetch another 
tray for us, when he was told to; and we had 
tea with the Editor of the Daihj Becorder. I 
suppose it was a very proud moment for Noel, 
though I did not think of that till afterwards. 
The Editor asked us a lot of questions, and we 
told him a good deal, though of course I did 
not tell a stranger all our reasons for thinking 
that the family fortunes wanted restoring. 
We stayed about half an hour, and when we 
were going away he said again — 

^'I shall print all your poems, my poet; 
and now what do you think they're worth ? " 

^'I don't know," Noel said. "You see I 
didn't write them to sell." 

" Why did you write them then ? " he 
asked. 

Noel said he didn't know ; he supposed 
because he wanted to. 

" Art for Art's sake, eh? " said the Editor, 
and he seemed quite delighted, as though 
Noel had said something clever. 







-c: 






3 



c: 



n T «j 7 ii f i "S S^ ^ yftift^ 







THE POET AND THE EDITOR 71 

" Well, would a guinea meet your views ? " 
he asked. 

I have read of people being at a loss for 
words, and dumb with emotion, and I've read 
of people being turned to stone with astonish- 
ment, or joy, or something, but I never knew 
how silly it looked till I saw Noel standing 
staring at the Editor with his mouth open. 
He went red and he went white, and then he 
got crimson, as if you were rubbing more and 
more crimson lake on a palette. But he 
didn't say a word, so Oswald had to say — 

^^ I should jolly well think so." 

So the Editor gave Noel a sovereign and 
a shilling, and he shook hands with us both, 
but he thumped Noel on the back and said — 

^' Buck up, old man! It's your first guinea, 
but it won't be your last. Now go along 
home, and in about ten years you can bring 
me some more poety. Not before — see ? I'm 
just taking this poetry of yours because I like 
it very much ; but we don't put poetry in this 
paper at all. I shall have to put it in another 
paper I known of." 

^' What do you put in your paper?" I 
asked, for Father always takes the Daily 
Chronicle^ and I didn't know what the Becorder 
was like. We chose it because it has such a 



72 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

glorious office, and a clock outside lighted 
up. 

"Oh, news/' said he, "and dull articles, 
and things about Celebrities. If you knew 
any Celebrities, now ? " 

Noel asked him what Celebrities were. 

" Oh, the Queen and the Princes, and people 
with titles, and people who ^^Tite, or sing, or 
act — or do something clever or wicked.'' 

" I don't know anybody wicked," said 
Oswald, wishing he had known Dick Turpin, 
or Claude Duval, so as to be able to tell the 
Editor things about them. "But I know 
some one with a title — Lord Tottenham." 

" The mad old Protectionist, eh ? How 
did vou come to know him?" 

L 

"We don't know him to speak to. But he 
goes over the heath every day at three, and 
he strides along like a giant — -^"ith a black 
cloak like Lord Tennyson's flying behind him, 
and he talks to himself like one o'clock." 

"What does he say?" The Editor had 
sat down again, and he was fiddling T\-ith a 
blue pencil. 

" We only heard him once, close enough to 
understand, and then he said, ' The curse of 
the country, sir — ruin and desolation ! ' And 
then he went stridino; alonc^ ao-ain, hittino: at 



"■O "■■'^■"o ^'•©"•■'■"^ -.-..-w.--"Q 



THE POET AND THE EDITOR 73 

the furze-bushes as if they were the heads of 
his enemies." 

"Excellent descriptive touch," said the 
Editor. "Well, go on." 

" That's all I know about him, except that 
he stops in the middle of the Heath every day, 
and he looks all round to see if there's any 
one about ; and if there isn't, he takes his 
collar off." 

The Editor interrupted — which is considered 
rude — and said — 

" You're not romancing ? " 

" I beg your pardon ? " said Oswald. 

" Drawing the long bow, I mean," said the 
Editor. 

Oswald drew himself up, and said he wasn't 
a liar. 

The Editor only laughed, and said romanc- 
ing and lying were not at all the same ; only 
it was important to know what you were 
playing at. So Oswald accepted his apology, 
and went on. 

" We were hiding among the furze-bushes 
one day, and we saw him do it. He took of 
his collar, and he put on a clean one, and he 
threw the other among the furze-bushes. We 
picked it up afterwards, and it was a beastly 
paper one ! " 



74 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

" Thank you," said the Editor, and he got 
up and put his hand in his pocket. " That's 
well worth ^Ye shillings, and here they are. 
Would you like to see round the printing 
offices before you go home ? " 

I pocketed my five bob, and thanked him, 
and I said we should like it very much. He 
called another gentleman and said something 
we couldn't hear. Then he said goodbye 
again ; and all this time Noel hadn't said a 
word. But now he said, " I've made a poem 
about you. It is called ' Lines to a Noble 
Editor.' Shall I write it down?" 

The Editor gave him the blue pencil, and 
he sat down at the Editor's table and wrote. 
It was this, he told me afterwards as well as 
he could remember — 

May Life's choicest blessings be your lot 

I think you ought to be very blest 
For you are going to print my poems — 

And you may have this one as well as the rest." 

''Thank you," said the Editor. ''I don't 
think I ever had a poem addressed to me 
before. I shall treasure it, I assure you." 

Then the other gentleman said something 
about Mecaenas, and we went off to see the 
printing office with at least one pound 
seven in our pockets. 



THE POET AND THE EDITOR 75 

It was good hunting, and no mistake ! 

But he never put Noel's poetry in the 
Daily Becorder. It was quite a long time 
afterwards we saw a sort of story thing in a 
magazine, on the station bookstall, and that 
kind, sleepy-looking Editor had written it, I 
suppose. It was not at all amusing. It said 
a lot about Noel and me, describing us all 
wrong, and saying how we had tea with the 
Editor ; and all Noel's poems were in the 
story thing. I think myself the Editor 
seemed to make game of them, but Noel was 
quite pleased to see them printed — so that's 
all right. 

It wasn't my poetry anyhow, I am glad to 
say. 



CHAPTEB VI. 



Ti 



CHAPTEE YI 



Noel's peincess 



She happened quite accidentally. We were 
not looking for a Princess at all just then ; 
but Noel had said he was going to find a 
Princess all by himself, and marry her — and 
he really did. Which was rather odd, because 
when people say things are going to befall, 
very often they don't. It was different, of 
course, with the prophets of old. 

We did not get any treasure by it, except 
twelve chocolate drops ; but we might have 
done, and it was an adventure, anyhow. 

Greenwich Park is a jolly good place to 
play in, especially the parts that aren't near 
Greenwich. The parts near the Heath are 
first-rate. I often wish the Park w^as nearer 
our house ; but I suppose a Park is a difficult 
thing to move. 

Sometimes we get Eliza to put lunch in a 



79 



80 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

basket, and we go up to the Park. She likes 
that — it saves cooking dinner for us ; and 
sometimes she says of her own accord, '' I've 
made some pasties for you, and you might as 
well go into the Park as not. It's a lovely 
day." 

She always tells us to rinse out the cup at 
the drinking-fountain, and the girls do ; but 
I always put my head under the tap and 
drink. Then you are an intrepid hunter at 
a mountain stream — and besides, you're sure 
it's clean. Dicky does the same, and so does 
H. 0. But Noel always drinks out of the cup. 
He says it is a golden goblet, wrought by 
enchanted gnomes. 

The day the Princess happened was a fine, 
hot day, last October, and we were quite 
tired with the walk up to the Park. 

We always go in by the little gate at the top 
of Groom's Hill. It is the postern gate that 
things always happen at in stories. It was 
dusty walking, but when we got in the Park 
it was ripping, so we rested a bit, and lay on 
our backs, and looked up at the trees, and 
wished we could play monkeys. I have done 
it before now, but the Park-keeper makes a 
row if he catches you. 



NOEL'S PRINCESS 81 

When we'd rested a little, Alice said — 

" It was a long way to the enchanted wood, 
but it is very nice now we are there. I 
wonder what we shall find in it ? " 

'^ We shall find deer," said Dicky, "if we 
go to look ; but they go on the other side of 
the Park because of the people with buns." 

Saying buns made us think of lunch, so we 
had it ; and when we had done we scratched 
a hole under a tree and buried the papers, 
because we know it spoils pretty places to 
leave beastly, greasy papers lying about. I 
remember Mother teaching me and Dora that, 
when we were quite little. I wish everybody's 
parents would teach them this useful lesson, 
and the same about orange-peel. 

When we'd eaten everything there was, 
Alice whispered — 

"I see the white witch bear yonder among 
the trees ! Let's track it and slay it in its 
lair." 

"I am the bear," said Noel; so he crept 
away, and we followed him among the trees. 
Often the witch bear was out of sight, and 
then you didn't know where it would jump 
out from ; but sometimes we saw it, and just 
followed. 

" When we catch it there'll be a great 

7 



82 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

fight," said Oswald; "and I shall be Count 
Folko of Mont Faucon." 

'' I'll be Gabrielle," said Dora. She is the 
only one of us who likes doing girl's parts. 

" I'll be Sintram," said Alice ; " and H. 0. 
can be the Little Master." 

''What about Dicky?" 

'' Oh, I can be the Pilgrim with the bones." 

" Hist ! " whispered Alice. " See his white 
fairy fur gleaming amid yonder covert ! " 

And I saw a bit of white too. It was Noel's 
collar, and it had come undone at the back. 

We hunted the bear in and out of the trees, 
and then we lost him altogether ; and sud- 
denly we found the wall of the Park — in a 
place where I'm sure there wasn't a wall 
before. Noel wasn't anywhere about, and 
there was a door in the wall. And it was 
open ; so we went through. 

'' The bear has hidden himself in these 
mountain fastnesses," Oswald said. ''I will 
draw my good sword and after him." 

So I drew the umbrella, which Dora alw^ays 
will bring in case it rains, because Noel gets 
a cold on the chest at the least thing — and 
we went in. 

The other side of the wall it was a stable 
yard, all cobble stones. There was nobody 



NOEL'S PBINCESS 83 

about — but \ye could hear a man rubbing 
down a horse and hissing in the stable ; so 
we crept very quietly past, and Alice whis- 
pered — 

^' 'Tis the lair of the Monster Serpent; I 
hear his deadly hiss ! Beware ! Courage and 
despatch ! " 

We went over the stones on tiptoe, and we 
found another wall with another door in it on 
the other side. We went through that too, 
on tiptoe. It really was an adventure. And 
there we were in a shrubbery, and we saw 
something white through the trees. Dora 
said it was the white bear. That is so like 
Dora. She always begins to take part in a 
play just when the rest of us are getting tired 
of it. I don't mean this unkindly, because 
I am very fond of Dora. I cannot forget how 
kind she was when I had bronchitis ; and 
ingratitude is a dreadful vice. But it is 
quite true. 

"It is not a bear," said Oswald; and we 
all went on, still on tiptoe, round a twisty 
path and on to a lawn, and there was Noel. 
His collar had come undone, as I said, and he 
had an inky mark on his face that he made 
just before we left the house, and he wouldn't 
let Dora wash it off, and one of his boot-laces 



84 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

was coming down. He was standing looking 
at a little girl ; she was the funniest little girl 
you ever saw. 

She was like a china doll — the sixpenny 
kind; she had a white face, and long yellow 
hair, done up very tight in two pigtails ; her 
forehead was very big and lumpy, and her 
cheeks came high up, like little shelves under 
her eyes. Her eyes were small and blue. 
She had on a funny black frock, with curly 
braid on it, and button boots that went almost 
up to her knees. Her legs were very thin. 
She was sitting in a hammock chair nursing 
a blue kitten — not a sky-blue one, of course, 
but the colour of a new slate pencil. As we 
came up we heard her say to Noel — 
''Who are you? " 

Noel had forgotten about the bear, and he 
was taking his favourite part, so he said — 
"I'm Prince Camaralzaman." 
The funny little girl looked pleased — 
'* I thought at first you were a common 
boy," she said. Then she saw the rest of us 
and said — 

"Are you all Princesses and Princes too ? " 
Of course we said " Yes," and she said — 
"I am a Princess also." She said it very 
well too, exactly as if it were true. We were 




ct! 



O 

■So 



NOEL S PBINCESS 85 

very glad, because it is so seldom you meet 
any children who can begin to play right off 
without having everything explained to them. 
And even then they will say they are going to 
" pretend to be " a lion, or a witch, or a king. 
Now this little girl just said "I am a Prin- 
cess." Then she looked at Oswald and said, 
" I fancy I've seen you at Baden." 

Of course Oswald said, " Yery likely." 

The little girl had a funny voice, and all 
her words were quite plain, each word by 
itself; she didn't talk at all like we do. 

H. 0. asked her what the cat's name was, 
and she said " Katinka." Then Dicky said — 

"Let's get away from the windows; if you 
play near windows some one inside generally 
knocks at them and says ' Don't.' " 

The Princess put down the cat very care- 
fully, and said — 

" I am forbidden to walk off the grass." 

'' That's a pity," said Dora. 

'^ But I will if you like," said the Princess. 

"You mustn't do things you are forbidden 
to do," Dora said; but Dicky showed us that 
there was some more grass beyond the shrubs 
with only a gravel path between. So I lifted 
the Princess over the gravel, so that she 
should be able to say she hadn't walked off 



86 THE TREASUBE SEEKEB8 

the grass. When we got to the other grass 
we all sat down, and the Princess asked us 
if we liked " dragees " (I know that's how 
you spell it, for I asked Albert-next-door's 
uncle). 

We said we thought not, but she pulled a 
real silver box out of her pocket and showed 
us ; they were just flat, round chocolates. 
We had two each. Then we asked her her 
name, and she began, and when she began 
she went on, and on, and on, till I thought she 
was never going to stop. H. 0. said she had 
fifty names, but Dicky is very good at figures, 
and he says there were only eighteen. The 
first were Pauline, Alexandra, Alice, and 
Mary was one, and Victoria, for we all heard 
that, and it ended up with Hildegarde 
Cunigonde something or other. Princess of 
something else. 

When she'd done, H. 0. said, " That's jolly 
good! Say it again ! " and she did, but even 
then we couldn't remember it. We told her 
our names, but she thought they were too 
short, so when it was Noel's turn he said he 
w^as Prince Noel Camaralzaman Ivan Con- 
stantine Charlemagne James John Edward 
Biggs Maximilian Bastable Prince of Lewi- 
sham, but when she asked him to say it again 



NOEL'S PRINCESS 87 

of course he could only get the first two 
names right, because he'd made it up as he 
went on. 

So the Princess said, ''You are quite old 
enough to know your own name." She was 
very grave and serious. 

She told us that she was the fifth cousin of 
Queen Victoria. We asked who the other 
cousins were, but she did not seem to under- 
stand. She went on and said she was seven 
times removed. She couldn't tell us what 
that meant either, but Oswald thinks it 
means that the Queen's cousins are so fond 
of her that they will keep coming bothering, 
so the Queen's servants have orders to 
remove them. This little girl must have 
been very fond of the Queen to try so often 
to see her, and to have been seven times 
removed. We could see that it is con- 
sidered something to be proud of, but we 
thought it was hard on the Queen that her 
cousins wouldn't let her alone. 

Presently the little girl asked us where our 
raaids and governesses were. 

We told her we hadn't any just now. And 
she said — 

" How pleasant ! And did you come here 
alone?" 



88 THE TEEASUBE SEEKERS 

"Yes," said Dora; "we came across the 
Heath." 

" You are very fortunate," said the little 
girl. She sat very upright on the grass, with 
her fat little hands in her lap. " I should 
like to go on the Heath. There are donkeys 
there, with white saddle covers. I should 
like to ride them, but my governess will not 
permit it." 

" I'm glad we haven't a governess," H. 0. 
said. " We ride the donkeys whenever we 
have any pennies, and once I gave the man 
another penny to make it gallop." 

"You are indeed fortunate!" said the 
Princess again, and when she looked sad the 
shelves on her cheeks showed more than ever. 
You could have laid a sixpence on them quite 
safely, if you had had one. 

" Never mind," said Noel ; " I've got a lot 
of money. Come out and have a ride now." 
But the little girl shook her head and said she 
was afraid it would not be correct. 

Dora said she was quite right ; then all of 
a sudden came one of those uncomfortable 
times when nobody can think of anything to 
say, so we sat and looked at each other. But 
at last Alice said we ought to be going. 

" Do not go yet," the little girl said. " At 
what time did they order your carriage ? " 



NOEL'S PBINCES8 89 

*' Our carriage is a fairy one, drawn by 
griffins, and it comes when we wish for it," 
said Noel. 

The Httle girl looked at him very queerly, 
and said, " That is out of a picture-book." 

Then Noel said he thought it was about 
time he was married if we were to be home in 
time for tea. The little girl was rather 
stupid over it, but she did what we told her, 
and we married them with Dora's pocket- 
handkerchief for a veil, and the ring off the 
back of one of the buttons on H. O.'s blouse 
just went on her little finger. 

Then we showed her how to play cross- 
touch, and puss in the corner, and tag. It 
was funny, she didn't know any games but 
battledore and shuttlecock and les graces. 
But she really began to laugh at last and not 
to look quite so like a doll. 

She was Puss and was running after Dicky 
when suddenly she stopped short and looked 
as if she was going to cry. And we looked 
too, and there were two prim ladies with little 
mouths and tight hair. One of them said 
in quite an awful voice, "Pauline, who are 
these children ? " and her voice was gruff, with 
very curly R's. 

The little girl said we were Princes and 



90 THE T BE A Sir RE SEEKERS 

Princesses — which was silly, to a grown-up 
person that is not a great friend of yours. 

The gruff lady gave a short, horrid laugh, 
like a husky bark, and said — 

'^ Princes, indeed ! They're only common 
children ! ' ' 

Dora turned very red and began to speak, 
but the little girl cried out " Common 
children ! Oh, I am so glad ! When I 
am grown up I'll always play with common 
children." 

And she ran at us, and began to kiss us one 
by one, beginning with Alice ; she had got to 
H. 0. when the horrid lady said — 

'' Your Highness — go indoors at once 1 " 

The little girl answered, "I won't!" Then 
the prim lady said — 

*^ Wilson, carry her Highness indoors." 

And the little girl was carried away 
screaming, and kicking with her little thin 
legs and her buttoned boots, and between her 
screams she shrieked : ^' Common children ! 
I am glad, glad, glad ! Common children ! 
Common children ! " 

The nasty lady then remarked — 

"Go at once, or I will send for the 
police ! " 

So we went. H. 0. made a face at her and 




"The little girl was carried away screaming.' 



NOEL'S PBINCESS 91 

SO did Alice, but Oswald took off his cap and 
said he was sorry if she was annoyed about 
anything ; for Oswald has always been taught 
to be polite to ladies, however nasty. Dicky 
took his off, too, when he saw me do it ; he 
says he did it first, but that is a mistake. If 
I were really a common boy I should say it 
was a lie. 

Then we all came away, and when we got 
outside Dora said, ^' So she was really a 
Princess. Fancy a Princess living there I " 

^^ Even Princesses have to live somewhere," 
said Dicky. 

"And I thought it was play. And it 
was real. I wish I'd known ! I should 
have liked to ask her lots of things," said 
Alice. 

H. 0. said he would have liked to ask her 
what she had for dinner and whether she had 
a crown. 

I felt, myself, we had lost a chance of 
finding out a great deal about kings and 
queens. I might have known such a stupid- 
looking little girl would never have been able 
to pretend as well as that. 

So we all went home across the Heath, and 
made dripping toast for tea. 

When we were eating it Noel said, " I 



92 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

wish I could give Jie?^ some ! It is very 
good." 

He sighed as he said it, and his mouth was 
very full, so we knew he was thinking of his 
Princess. He says now that she was as 
beautiful as the day, but we remember her 
quite well, and she was nothing of the kind. 



CHAPTEB VII. 



93 



CHAPTEE VII 



BEING BANDITS 



Noel was quite tiresome for ever so long after 
we found the Princess. He would keep on 
wanting to go to the Park when the rest of us 
didn't, and though we went several times to 
please him, we never found that door open 
again, and all of us except him knew from 
the first that it would be no go. 

So now we thought it was time to do some- 
thing to rouse him from the stupor of despair, 
which is always done to heroes when any- 
thing baffling has occurred. Besides, we 
were getting very short of money again — the 
fortunes of your house cannot be restored 
(not so that they will last, that is), even by 
the one pound eight we got when we had the 
"good hunting." We spent a good deal of 
that on presents for Father's birthday. We 
got him a paper-weight, like a glass bun, with 



95 



96 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

a picture of Lewisham Church at the bottom ; 
and a blotting-pad, and a box of preserved 
fruits, and an ivory penholder with a view of 
Greenwich Park in the little hole where you 
look through at the top. He was most awfully 
pleased and surprised, and when he heard how 
Noel and Oswald had earned the money to 
buy the things he was more surprised still. 
Nearly all the rest of our money went to get 
fireworks for the Fifth of November. We got 
six Catherine wheels and four rockets ; two 
hand-lights, one red and one green ; a six- 
penny maroon ; two Eoman-candles — they 
cost a shilling ; some Italian streamers, a 
fairy fountain, and a tourbillon that cost 
eighteenpence and was very nearly worth it. 

But I think crackers and squibs are a 
mistake. It's true you get a lot of them for 
the money, and they are not bad fun for the 
first two or three dozen, but you get jolly sick 
of them before you've let off your sixpenn'orth. 
And the only amusing way is not allowed : it 
is putting them in the fire. 

It always seems a long time till the evening 
when you have got fireworks in the house, 
and I think as it was a rather foggy day we 
should have decided to let them ofi directly 
after breakfast, only Father had said he would 



BEING BANDITS 97 

help US to let them off at eight o'clock after 
he had had his dinner, and you ought never 
to disappoint your Father if you can help it. 

You see we had three good reasons for 
trying H. O.'s idea of restoring the fallen 
fortunes of our house by becoming bandits 
on the Fifth of November. We had a fourth 
reason as well, and that was the best reason 
of the lot. You remember Dora thought it 
would be wrong to be bandits. And the Fifth 
of November came while Dora was away 
at Stroud staying with her godmother. Stroud 
is in Gloucestershire. We were determined 
to do it while she was out of the way, because 
we did not think it wrong, and besides we 
meant to do it anyhow. 

We held a Council, of course, and laid our 
plans very carefully. We let H. 0. be Captain, 
because it was his idea. Oswald was Lieu- 
tenant. Oswald was quite fair, because he 
let H. 0. call himself Captain ; but Oswald is 
the eldest next to Dora, after all. 

Our plan was this. We were all to go up on 
to the Heath. Our house is in the Lewisham 
Koad, but it's quite close to the Heath if you 
cut up the short way opposite the con- 
fectioner's, past the nursery gardens and the 
cottage hospital, and turn to the left again 

8 



98 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

and afterwards to the right. You come out then 
at the top of the hill, where the big guns are 
with the iron fence round them, and where 
the band plays on Thursday evenings in the 
summer. 

We were to lurk in ambush there, and way- 
lay an unwary traveller. We were to call 
upon him to surrender his arms, and then 
bring him home and put him in the deepest 
dungeon below the castle moat ; then we 
were to load him with chains and send to his 
friends for ransom. You may think we had 
no chains, but you are wrong, because we used 
to keep two other dogs once, besides Pincher, 
before the fall of the fortunes of the ancient 
House of Bastable. And they were quite 
big dogs. 

It was latish in the afternoon before v/e 
started. We thought we could lurk better 
if it was nearly dark. It was rather foggy, 
and we waited a good while beside the railings, 
but all the belated travellers were either grown 
up or else they were Board School children. 
We weren't going to get into a row with 
grown-up people — especially strangers — and 
no true bandit would ever stoop to ask a 
ransom from the relations of the poor and 
needy. So we thought it better to wait. 



BEING BANDITS 99 

As I said, it was Guy Fawkes day, and if 
it had not been we should never have been 
able to be bandits at all, for the unwary 
traveller we did catch had been forbidden to 
go out because he had a cold in his head. But 
he would run out to follow a guy, withoub 
even putting on a coat or a comforter, and it 
was a very damp, foggy afternoon and nearly 
dark, so you see it was his own fault entirely, 
and served him jolly well right. 

We saw him coming over the Heath just 
as we were deciding to go home to tea. He 
had followed that guy right across to the 
village (we call Blackheath the village ; I 
don't know why), and he was coming back 
dragging his feet and sniffing. 

"Hist, an unwary traveller approaches!" 
whispered Oswald. 

" Muffle your horses' heads and see to the 
priming of your pistols," muttered Alice. 
She always will play boys' parts, and she 
makes Ellis cut her hair short on purpose. 
Ellis is a very obliging hairdresser. 

"Steal softly upon him," said Noel; "for 
lo ! 'tis dusk, and no human eyes can mark 
our deeds." 

So we ran out and surrounded the unwary 
traveller. It turned out to be Albert-next- 



100 THE TEEASUBE SEEKERS 

door, and he was very frightened indeed until 
he saw who we were. 

^' Surrender ! " hissed Oswald, in a desperate- 
sounding voice, as he caught the arm of 
the Unwary. And Albert-next-door said, " All 
right ! I'm surrendering as hard as I can. 
You needn't pull my arm off." 

We explained to him that resistance was 
useless, and I think he saw that from the first. 
We held him tight by both arms, and we 
marched him home down the hill in a hollow 
square of five. 

He wanted to tell us about the guy, but we 
made him see that it was not proper for 
prisoners to talk to the guard, especially about 
guys that the prisoner had been told not to go 
after because of his cold. 

When we got to where we live he said, 
'^All right, I don't want to tell you. You'll 
wish I had afterwards. You never saw such 
a guy." 

"• I can see you I " said H. 0. It was very 
rude, and Oswald told him so at once, 
because it is his duty as an elder brother. 
But H. 0. is very young and does not know 
better yet, and besides it wasn't bad for 
H. 0. 

Albert-next-door said, " You haven't any 



BEING BANDITS 101 

manners, and I want to go in to my tea. Let 
go of me ! " 

But Alice told him, quite kindly, that he 
was not going in to his tea, but coming 
with us. 

" I'm not," said Albert-next-door ; '* I'm 
going home. Leave go ! I've got a bad cold. 
You're making it worse." Then he tried to 
cough, which was very silly, because we'd 
seen him in the morning, and he'd told us 
where the cold was that he wasn't to go out 
with. When he had tried to cough, he said, 
'' Leave go of me ! You see my cold's getting 
worse." 

" You should have thought of that before," 
said Dicky ; " you're coming in with us." 

" Don't be a silly," said Noel ; " you know 
we told you at the very beginning that resis- 
tance was useless. There is no disgrace in 
yielding. We are five to your one." 

By this time Eliza had opened the door, 
and we thought it best to take him in without 
any more parleying. To parley with a prisoner 
is not done by bandits. 

Directly w^e got him safe into the nursery, 
H. 0. began to jump about and say, " Now 
you're a prisoner really and truly ! " 

And Albert-next-door began to cry. He 



102 THE TEE A SURE SEEKERS 

always does. I wonder he didn't begin long 
before — but Alice fetched him one of the dried 
fruits we gave Father for his birthday. It 
was a green walnut. I have noticed the 
walnuts and the plums always get left till 
the last in the box : the apricots go first, and 
then the figs and pears ; and the cherries, if 
there are any. 

So he ate it and shut up. Then we ex- 
plained his position to him, so that there 
should be no mistake, and he couldn't say 
afterwards that he had not understood. 

u There will be no violence," said Oswald — 
he was now Captain of the Bandits, because 
we all know H. 0. likes to be Chaplain when 
we play prisoners — " no violence. But you 
will be confined in a dark, subterranean dun- 
geon where toads and snakes crawl, and but 
little of the light of day filters through the 
heavily mullioned windows. You will be 
loaded with chains. Now don't begin again, 
Baby, there's nothing to cry about ; straw 
will be your pallet ; beside you the gaoler 
will set a ewer — a ewer is only a jug, stupid ; 
it won't eat you — a ewer with water ; and a 
mouldering crust will be your food." 

But Albert-next-door never enters into the 
spirit of a thing. He mumbled something 
about tea-time. 



BEING BANDITS 103 

Now Oswald, though stem, is always just, 
and besides we were all rather hungry, and 
tea was ready. So we had it at once, Albert- 
next-door and all — and we gave him what was 
left of the four-pound jar of apricot jam we 
got with the money Noel got for his poetry. 
And we saved our crusts for the prisoner. 

Albert-next-door was very tiresome. Nobody 
could have had a nicer prison than he had. 
We fenced him into a corner with the old wire 
nursery fender and all the chairs, instead of 
putting him in the coal-cellar as we had first 
intended. And when he said the dog-chains 
were cold the girls were kind enough to warm 
his fetters thoroughly at the fire before we put 
them on him. 

We got the straw cases of some bottles of 
wdne some one sent Father one Christmas — 
it is some years ago, but the cases are quite 
good. We unpicked them very carefully and 
pulled them to pieces and scattered the straw 
about. It made a lovely straw pallet, and 
took ever so long to make — but Albert-next-door 
has yet to learn what gratitude really is. We 
got the bread trencher for the wooden platter 
where the prisoner's crusts were put — they 
were not mouldy, but we could not wait till 
they got so, and for the ewer we got the toilet 



104 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

jug out of the spare-room where nobody ever 
sleeps. And even then Albert-next-door 
couldn't be happy like the rest of us. He 
howled and cried and tried to get out, and 
he knocked the ewer over and stamped on 
the mouldering crusts. Luckily there was no 
water in the ewer because we had forgotten it, 
only dust and spiders. So we tied him up 
with the clothes line from the back kitchen, 
and we had to hurry up, which was a pity for 
him. We might have had him rescued by a 
devoted page if he hadn't been so tiresome. 
In fact Noel was actually dressing up for the 
page when Albert-next-door kicked over the 
prison ewer. 

We got a sheet of paper out of an old 
exercise book, and we made H. 0. prick his own 
thumb, because he is our little brother and it 
is our duty to teach him to be brave. We 
none of us mind pricking ourselves ; we've 
done it heaps of times. H. 0. didn't like it, 
but he agreed to do it, and I helped him a 
little because he was so slow, and when he 
saw the red bead of blood getting fatter and 
bigger as I squeezed his thumb he was very 
pleased, just as I had told him he would be. 

This is what we wrote with H. O.'s blood, 
only the blood gave out when we got to 



BEING BANDITS 105 

'^ Eestored," and we had to write the rest 
with crimson lake, which is not the same 
colour, though I always use it, myself, for 
painting wounds. 

While Oswald was writing it he heard Alice 
whispering to the prisoner that it would soon 
be over, and it was only play. The prisoner 
left off howling, so I pretended not to hear 
what she said. A Bandit Captain has to 
overlook things sometimes. This was the 
letter : — 

'' Albert Morrison is held a prisoner by 
Bandits. On payment of three thousand 
pounds he will be restored to his sorrowing 
relatives, and all will be forgotten and for- 
given." 

I was not sure about the last part, but Dicky 
was certain he had seen it in the paper, so I 
suppose it must have been all right. 

We let H.O. take the letter ; it was only 
fair, as it was his blood it was written with, 
and told him to leave it next door for Mrs. 
Morrison. 

H. 0. came back quite quickly, and Albert- 
next-door's uncle came with him. 

^'What is all this, Albert?" he cried. 
^' Alas, alas, my nephew ! Do I find you the 
prisoner of a desperate band of brigands ? " 



106 THE TREASUBE SEEKEBS 

^'Bandits," said H. 0., " you know it says 
bandits." 

'' I beg your pardon, gentlemen," said 
Albert-next-door's uncle, " bandits it is, of 
course. This, Albert, is the direct result of 
the pursuit of the guy on an occasion when 
your doting mother had expressly warned you 
to forego the pleasures of the chase." 

Albert said it wasn't his fault, and he hadn't 
wanted to play. 

"So ho ! " said his uncle, " impenitent 
too ! "Where's the dungeon ? " 

We explained the dungeon, and showed him 
the straw^ pallet and the ewer and the moulder- 
ing crusts and other things. 

" Very pretty and complete," he said. 
"Albert, you are more highly privileged than 
ever I was. No one ever made me a nice 
dungeon when I was your age. I think I had 
better leave you where you are." 

Albert began to cry again and said he was 
sorry, and he would be a good boy. 

"And on this old familiar basis you expect 
me to ransom you, do you ? Honestly, my 
nephew, I doubt whether you are worth it. 
Besides, the sum mentioned in this document 
strikes me as excessive : Albert really is not 
worth three thousand pounds. Also by a 



BEING BANDITS 107 

strange and unfortunate chance I haven't the 
money about me. Couldn't you take less ? " 

We said perhaps we could. 

" Say eightpence," suggested Albert-next- 
door's uncle, ^' which is all the small change 
I happen to have on my person." 

" Thank you very much," said Alice as he 
held it out ; " but are you sure you can spare 
it ? Because really it was only play." 

" Quite sure. Now, Albert, the game is 
over. You had better run home to your 
Mother and tell her how much you've enjoyed 
yourself." 

When Albert-next-door had gone his uncle 
sat in the Guy Fawkes armchair and took 
Alice on his knee, and we sat round the fire 
waitino' till it would be time to let off our fire- 
works. We roasted the chestnuts he sent 
Dicky out for, and he told us stories till it was 
nearly seven. His stories are first rate — he 
does all the parts in different voices. At last 
he said — 

"Look here, young uns. I like to see you 
play and enjoy yourselves, and I don't think 
it hurts Albert to enjoy himself too." 

" I don't think he did much," said H. 0. 
But I knew what Albert-next-door's uncle 
meant, because I am much older than H. 0. 
He went on — 



108 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

'' But what about Albert's Mother ? Didn't 
you think how anxious she would be at his not 
coming home ? As it happens I saw him 
come in with you, so we knew it was all right. 
But if I hadn't, eh?" 

He only talks like that when he is very 
serious, or even angry. Other times he talks 
like people in books — to us, I mean. 

We none of us said anything. But I was 
thinking. Then Alice spoke. 

Girls seem not to mind saying things that 
we don't say. She put her arms round Albert- 
next-door's uncle's neck and said — 

"We're very, very sorry. We didn't think 
about his Mother. You see we try very hard 
not to think about other people's Mothers 
because " 

Just then we heard Father's key in the door 
and Albert -next -door's uncle kissed Alice 
and put her down, and we all went down 
to meet Father. As we went I thought I 
heard Albert-next-door's uncle say something 
that sounded like " Poor little beggars ! " 

He couldn't have meant us, when we'd been 
having such a jolly time, and chestnuts and 
fireworks to look forward to after dinner and 
everything ! 



CHAPTER VIIL 



109 



CHAPTEE VIII 



BEING EDITORS 



It was Albert's uncle who thought of our 
trying a newspaper. He said he thought we 
should not find the bandit business a paying 
industry, as a permanency, and that journalism 
might be. 

We had sold Noel's poetry and that piece of 
information about Lord Tottenham to the good 
editor, so we thought it would not be a bad 
idea to have a newspaper of our own. We 
saw plainly that editors must be very rich and 
powerful, because of the grand office and the 
man in the glass case, like a museum, and the 
soft carpets and big writing-table. Besides 
our having seen a whole handful of money 
that the editor pulled out quite carelessly from 
his trousers pocket when he gave me my five 
bob. 

Dora wanted to be editor and so did Oswald, 



111 



112 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

but he gave way to her because she is a girl, 
and afterwards he knew that it is true what it 
says in the copybooks about Virtue being its 
own Eeward. Because you've no idea what a 
bother it is. Everybody wanted to put in 
everything just as they Hked, no matter how 
much room there was on the page. It was 
simply awful ! Dora put up with it as long as 
she could and then she said if she wasn't let 
alone she wouldn't go on being editor ; they 
could be the paper's editors themselves, so 
there. 

Then Oswald said, like a good brother: '*I 
will help you if you like, Dora," and she said, 
''You're more trouble than all the rest of 
them ! Come and be editor and see how you 
like it. I give it up to you." But she didn't, 
and we did it together. We let Albert-next- 
door be sub-editor, because he had hurt his 
foot with a nail in his boot that gathered. 

When it was done Albert-next-door's uncle 
had it copied for us in typewriting, and we 
sent copies to all our friends, and then of 
course there was no one left that we could ask 
to buy it. We did not think of that until too 
late. We called the paper the Lewishavi 
Recorder ; Lewisham because we live there, 
and Eecorder in memory of the good editor. 



BEING EDITOBS 113 

I could write a better paper on my head, but 
an editor is not allowed to write all the paper. 
It is very hard, but he is not. You just have 
to fill up with what you can get from other 
writers. If I ever have time I will write a 
paper all by myself. It won't be patchy. 
We had no time to make it an illustrated 
paper, but I drew the ship going down with 
all hands for the first copy. But the type- 
writer can't draw ships, so it was left out in 
the other copies. The time the first paper 
took to write out no one would believe ! This 
was the Newspaper : — 

Ube Xewlsbam lRecorbei\ 

EDITOBS: DOBA AND OSWALD BASTABLE. 



Editokial Note. 

Every paper is written for some reason. 
Ours is because we want to sell it and get 
money. If what we have written brings hap- 
piness to any sad heart we shall not have 
laboured in vain. But we want the money 
too. Many papers are content with the sad 
heart and the happiness, but we are not like 
that, and it is best not to be deceitful. — 
Editoes. 

9 



114 THE TREASVBE SEEKEBS 

There will be two serial stories ; one by 
Dicky and one by all of us. In a serial story 
you only put in one chapter at a time. But 
we shall put all our serial story at once, if 
Dora has time to copy it. Dicky's will come 
later on. 



SEEIAL STOEY. 

BY US ALL. 

Chapter I. — By Dora. 

The sun was setting behind a romantic- 
looking tower when two strangers might have 
been observed descending the crest of the hill. 
The elder, a man in the prime of life ; the 
other a handsome youth who reminded every- 
body of Quentin Durward. They approached 
the Castle, in which the fair Lady Alicia 
awaited her deliverers. She leaned from the 
castellated window and waved her lily hand 
as they approached. They returned her signal, 
and retired to seek rest and refreshment at a 
neighbouring hostelry. 



Chapter II. — By Alice. 

The Princess was very uncomfortable in the 
tower, because her fairy godmother had told 



BEING EDITORS 115 

her all sorts of horrid things would happen if 
she didn't catch a mouse every day, and she 
had caught so many mice that now there 
were hardly any left to catch. So she sent 
her carrier pigeon to ask the noble strangers 
if they could send her a few mice — because 
she would be of age in a few days and then it 

wouldn't matter. So the fairy godmother 

(I'm very sorry, but there's no room to make 
the chapters any longer. — Ed.) 



Chapter III. — By the Sub-Editor. 

(I can't — I'd much rather not — I don't 
know how.) 



Chapter IV. — By Dicky. 

1 must now retrace my steps and tell you 
something about our hero. You must know 
he had been to an awfully jolly school, where 
they had turkey and goose every day for 
dinner, and never any mutton, and as many 
helps of pudding as a fellow cared to send up 
his plate for — so of course they had all grown 
up very strong, and before he left school he 
challenged the Head to have it out man to 
man, and he gave it him, I tell you. That 



116 THE TBEA8UBE SEEKERS 

was the education that made him able to fight 
Eed Indians, and to be the stranger who might 
have been observed in the first chapter. 



Chapter V. — By Noel. 

I think it's time something happened in 
this story. So then the dragon he came out, 
blowing fire out of his nose, and he said — 

" Come on, you valiant man and true, 
I'd like to have a set to along of you ! " 

(That's bad English. — Ed. I don't care; it's 
what the dragon said. Who told you dragons 
didn't talk bad English ? — Noel.) 

So the hero, whose name was Noeloninuris, 
replied — 

" My blade is sharp, my axe is keen, 
You're not nearly as big as a good many dragons I've 



seen." 



(Don't put in so much poetry, Noel. It's 
not fair, because none of the others can do it. 
—Ed.) 

And then they went at it, and he beat the 
dragon, just as he did the Head in Dicky's 
part of the story, and so he married the 

Princess, and they lived (No they didn't — 

not till the last chapter. — Ed.) 



BEING EDITORS 117 

Chapter Yl.—Bij H. 0. 

I think it's a very nice story — but what 
about the mice ? I don't want to say any 
more. Dora can have what's left of my 
chapter. 



Chapter VII. — By the Editors. 

And so when the dragon was dead there 
were lots of mice, because he used to kill 
them for his tea ; but now they rapidly 
multiplied and ravaged the country, so the 
fair lady Alicia, sometimes called the Princess, 
had to say she would not marry any one 
unless they could rid the country of this 
plague of mice. Then the Prince, w^hose real 
name didn't begin with N, but was Osra- 
walddo, waved his magic sword, and the 
dragon stood before them, bowing gracefully. 
They made him promise to be good, and then 
they forgave him ; and when the wedding 
breakfast came, all the bones were saved for 
him. And so they were married and lived 
happy ever after. 

(What became of the other stranger? — 
Noel. The dragon ate him because he asked 
too many questions. — Editoes.) 

This is the end of the story. 



118 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

Instructive. 

It only takes four hours and a quarter now 
to get from London to Manchester; but I 
should not think any one would if they could 
help it. 

A dreadful warning. — A wicked boy told 
me a very instructive thing about ginger. 
They had opened one of the large jars, and 
he happened to take out quite a lot, and he 
made it all right by dropping marbles in, till 
there was as much ginger as before. But he 
told me that on the Sunday, when it was 
coming near the part where there is only juice 
generally, I had no idea what his feelings 
were. I don't see what he could have said 
when they asked him. I should be sorry to 
act like it. 



Scientific. 

Experiments should always be made out of 
doors. And don't use benzoline. — Dicky. 

(That was when he burnt his eyebrows off. 
—Ed.) 

The earth is 2,400 miles round, and 800 
through — at least I think so, but perhaps it's 
the other way. — Dicky. 



BEING EDITORS 119 

(You ought to have been sure before you 
began. — Ed.) 



Scientific Column. 

In this so-called Nineteenth Century Science 
is but too little considered in the nurseries of 
the rich and proud. But we are not like that. 

It is not generally known that if you put 
bits of camphor in luke-warm water it will 
move about. If you drop sweet oil in, the 
camphor will dart away and then stop moving. 
But don't drop any till you are tired of it, 
because the camphor won't any more after- 
wards. Much amusement and instruction is 
lost by not knowing things like this. 

If you put a sixpence under a shilling in a 
wine-glass, and blow^ hard dow^n the side of 
the glass, the sixpence will jump up and sit 
on the top of the shilling. At least I can't 
do it myself, but my cousin can. He is in 
the Navy. 



Answers to Correspondents. 

Noel. — You are very poetical, but I am 
sorry to say it will not do. 

Alice. — Nothing will ever make your hair 



120 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

curl, SO it's no use. Some people say it's 
more important to tidy up as you go along. 
I don't mean you in particular, but every one. 

H. 0. — We never said you were tubby, but 
the Editor does not know any cure. 

NoeL — If there is any of the paper over 
when this newspaper is finished, I will exchange 
it for your shut-up inkstand, or the knife that 
has the useful thing in it for taking stones 
out of horses' feet, but you can't have it 
without. 

H. 0. — There are many ways how your 
steam engine might stop working. You 
might ask Dicky. He knows one of them. 
I think it is the way yours stopped. 

Noel. — If you think that by filling the 
garden with sand you can make crabs build 
their nests there you are not at all sensible. 

You have altered your poem about the 
battle of Waterloo so often, that we cannot 
read it except where the Duke waves his sword 
and says some thing we can't read either. 
Why did you write it on blotting-paper with 
purple chalk ? — Ed. 

(Because you know who sneaked my pencil. 
— Noel.) 



BEING EDITORS 121 

Poetry. 

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, 

And the way he came down was awful, I'm told ; 

But it's nothing to the way one of the Editors comes 

down on me. 
If I crumble my bread-and-butter or spill my tea. — Noel. 



CuEious Facts. 

If you hold a guinea-pig up by his tail his 
eyes drop out. 

You can't do half the things yourself that 
children in books do, making models or so 
on. I wonder why? — Alice. 

If you take a date's stone out and put in an 
almond and eat them together, it is prime. 
I found this out. — Sub-Editoe. 

If you put your wet hand into boiling lead 
it will not hurt you if you draw it out quickly 
enough. I have never tried this. — Doka. 



The Purring Class. 
{Instructive Article.) 

If I ever keep a school everything shall be 
quite different. Nobody shall learn anything 
they don't want to. And sometimes instead 
of having masters and mistresses we will have 
cats, and we will dress up in cat skins and 
learn purring. 



122 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

" Now, my dears," the old cat will say, 
"one, two, three — all purr together," and we 
shall purr like anything. 

She won't teach us to mew, but we shall 
know how without teaching. Children do 
know some things without being taught. — 
Alice. 



Poetry. 

{Translated into French by Dora.) 

Quand j'etais jeune et j'etais fou 
J'achetai un violon pour dix-huit sous 
Et tous les airs que je jouai 
Etait over the hills and far away. 



Another piece of it. 

Merci jolie vache qui fait 
Bon lait pour mon dejeuner 
Tous les matins tous les soirs 
Mon pain je mange, ton lait je boire. 



Eecreations. 

It is a mistake to think that cats are 
playful. I often try to get a cat to play with 
me, and she never seems to care about the 
game, no matter how little it hurts. — H. 0. 



BEING EDITORS 123 

Making pots and pans with clay is fun, 
but do not tell the grown-ups. It is better 
to surprise them, and then you must say at 
once how easily it washes off — much easier 
than ink. — Dicky. 



Sam Eedfern, or the Bushranger's Burial. 

By Dicky. 

'^Well, Annie, I have bad news for you," 
said Mr. Kidgway, as he entered the comfort- 
able dining-room of his cabin in the Bush. 
'' Sam Eedfern the Bushranger is about this 
part of the Bush just now. I hope he will not 
attack us with his gang." 

^'I hope not," responded Annie, a gentle 
maiden of some sixteen summers. 

Just then came a knock at the door of the 
hut, and a gruff voice asked them to open the 
door. 

^' It is Sam Eedfern the Bushranger, father," 
said the girl. 

^'The same," responded the voice, and the 
next moment the hall door was smashed in, 
and Sam Eedfern sprang in, followed by his 
gang. 



124 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

Chapter II. 

Annie's Father was at once overpowered, 
and Annie herself lay bound with cords on 
the drawing-room sofa. Sam Eedfern set a 
guard round the lonely hut, and all human 
aid was despaired of. But you never know. 
Far away in the Bush a different scene was 
being enacted. ' ' 

^'Must be Injuns," said a tall man to 
himself as he pushed his way through the 
brushwood. It was Jim Carlton, the cele- 
brated detective. ^' I know them," he added ; 
"they are Apaches." Just then ten Indians 
in full war-paint appeared. Carlton raised 
his rifle and fired, and slinging their scalps 
on his arm he hastened towards the humble 
log hut where resided his affianced bride, 
Annie Kidgway, sometimes known as the 
Flower of the Bush. 



Chapter III. 

The moon was low on the horizon, and 
Sam Eedfern was seated at a drinking bout 
with some of his boon companions. 

They had rifled the cellars of the hut, and 
the rich wines flowed like water in the golden 
goblets of Mr. Kidgway. 



BEING EDITORS 125 

But Annie had made friends with one of 
the gang, a noble, good-hearted man who had 
joined Sam Eedfern by mistake, and she had 
told him to go and get the police as quickly 
as possible. 

"Ha! ha!" cried Eedfern, "now I am 
enjoying myself." He little knew that his 
doom was near upon him. 

Just then Annie gave a piercing scream, 
and Sam Eedfern got up, seizing his revolver. 

"Who are you?" he cried, as a man 
entered. 

"I am Jim Carlton, the celebrated detec- 
tive," said the new arrival. 

Sam Eedfern's revolver dropped from his 
nerveless fingers, but the next moment he 
had sprung upon the detective with the well- 
known activity of the mountain sheep, and 
Annie shrieked, for she had grown to love 
the rough Bushranger. 

{To he continued at the end of the paper if there 

is room.) 



Scholastic. 

A new slate is horrid till it is washed in 
milk. I like the green spots on them to draw 



126 THE TBEA8UBE SEEKERS 

patterns round. I know a good way to make 
a slate-pencil squeak, but I won't put it in 
because I don't want to make it common. — 
Sub-Editoe. 

Peppermint is a great help with arithmetic. 
The boy who was second in the Oxford Local 
always did it. He gave me two. The 
examiner said to him, "Are you eating 
peppermints?" And he said, "No, sir." 
He told me afterwards it was quite true, 
because he was only sucking one. I'm glad 
I wasn't asked. I should never have thought 
of that, and I should have had to say " Yes." 
— Oswald. 



The Wreck of the "Malabar." 

By Noel. 

(Author of " A Dream of Ancient Ancestors)." He isn't 
really — but he put it in to make it seem more real. 

Hark ! what is that noise of rolling 

Waves and thunder in the air ? 
'Tis the death-knell of the sailors [Malahar. 

And officers and passengers of the good ship 

It was a fair and lovely noon 

When the good ship put out of port 
And people said '* Ah little we think 

How soon she will be the elements' sport." 



BEING EDITOBS 127 

She was indeed a lovely sight 

Upon the billows with sails spread 
But the captain folded his gloomy arms 

Ah — if she had been a life-boat instead ! 

See the captain stern yet gloomy 

Flings his son upon a rock 
Hoping that there his darling boy 

May escape the wreck. 

Alas in vain the loud winds roared 

And nobody was saved. 
That was the wreck of the Malabar, 

Then let us toll for the brave. — Noel. 



Gardening Notes. 

It is useless to plant cherry-stones in the 
hope of eating the fruit, because they don't ! 

Alice won't lend her gardening tools again, 
because the last time Noel left them out in 
the rain, and I don't like it. He said he 
didn't. 



Seeds and Bulbs. 

These are useful to play at shop with, until 
you are ready. Not at dinner-parties, for they 
will not grow unless uncooked. Potatoes are 
not grown with seed, but with chopped-up 
potatoes. Apple trees are grown from twigs, 
which is less wasteful. 



128 THE TBEASIJBE SEEKEBS 

Oak trees come from acorns. Every one 
knows this. When Noel says he could grow 
one from a peach stone wrapped up in oak 
leaves, he shows that he knows nothing about 
gardening but marigolds, and when I passed 
by his garden I thought they seemed just like 
weeds now the flowers have been picked. 

A boy once dared me to eat a bulb. 

Dogs are very industrious and fond of 
gardening. Pincher is always planting bones, 
but they never grow up. There couldn't be 
a bone tree. I think this is what makes him 
bark so unhappily at night. He has never 
tried planting dog-biscuit, but he is fonder 
of bones, and perhaps he wants to be quite 
sure about them first. 



Sam Eedfern, or the Bushranger's Burial. 

By Dick. 
Chapter IV. and Last. 

This would have been a jolly good story if 
they had let me finish it at the beginning of 
the paper, as I wanted to. But now I have 
forgotten how I meant it to end, and I have 
lost my book about Eed Indians, and all my 
Boys of England have been sneaked. The 
girls say *' Good riddance ! " so I expect they 



BEING EDITOBS 129 

did it. They want me just to put in which 
Annie married, but I shan't, so they will 
never know. 



We have now put everything we can think 
of into the paper. It takes a lot of thinking 
about. I don't know how grown-ups manage 
to write all they do. It must make their heads 
ache, especially lesson books. 

Albert-next-door only wrote one chapter of 
the serial story, but he could have done some 
more if he had wanted to. He could not 
write out any of the things because he cannot 
spell. He says he can, but it takes him such 
a long time he might just as well not be able. 
There are one or two things more. I am sick 
of it, but Dora says she will write them in. 

Legal aiiswer wanted. — A quantity of excel- 
lent string is offered if you know whether 
there really is a law passed about not buying 
gunpowder under thirteen. — Dicky. 

The price of this paper is one shilling each, 

and sixpence extra for the picture of the 

Malaha,r going down with all hands. If we 

10 - 



130 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

sell one hundred copies we will write another 
paper. 

***** 

And so we would have done, but we never 
did. Albert-next-door's uncle gave us two 
shillings, that was all. You can't restore 
fallen fortunes with two shillings ! 



CHAPTER IX. 



131 



CHAPTEE IX 



THE G. B. 



Being editors is not the best way to wealth. 
We all feel this now, and highwaymen are not 
respected any more like they used to be. 

I am sure we had tried our best to restore 
our fallen fortunes. We felt their fall very 
much, because we knew the Bastables had been 
rich once. Dora and Oswald can remember 
when father was always bringing nice things 
home from London, and there used to be 
turkeys and geese and wine and cigars come 
by the carrier at Christmas-time, and boxes of 
candied fruit and French plums in ornamental 
boxes wdth silk and velvet and gilding on 
them. They were called prunes, but the 
prunes you buy at the grocers are quite 
different. But now there is seldom anything 
nice brought from London, and the turkey 



133- 



134 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

and the prune people have forgotten Father's 
address. 

^'How ca7i we restore those beastly fallen 
fortunes ? " said Oswald. " We've tried dig- 
ging and writing and princesses and being 
editors." 

''And being bandits," said H. 0. 

"When did you try that?" asked Dora 
quickly. " You know I told you it was 
wrong." 

" It wasn't wrong the way we did it," said 
Alice, quicker still, before Oswald could say, 
" Who asked you to tell us anything about 
it ? " which would have been rude, and he is 
glad he didn't. " We only caught Albert- 
next-door." 

"Oh, Albert-next-door!" said Dora con- 
temptuously, and I felt more comfortable ; for 
even after I didn't say, " Who asked you, and 
cetera," I was afraid Dora was going to come 
the good elder sister over us. She does that 
a jolly sight too often. 

Dicky looked up from the paper he was 
reading and said, "This sounds likely," and 
he read out — 

£100 secures partnership in lucrative business for sale 
of useful patent. £10 weekly. No personal attendance 
necessary. Jobbins, 300, Old Street Eoad. 



THE G. B. 135 

" I wish we could secure that partnership," 
said Oswald. He is twelve, and a very 
thoughtful boy for his age. 

Alice looked up from her painting. She 
was trying to paint a fairy queen's frock with 
green bice, and it wouldn't rub. There is 
something funny about green bice. It never 
will rub off, no matter how expensive your 
paint-box is — and even boiling water is very 
little use. 

She said, " Bother the bice ! And Oswald, 
it's no use thinking about that. Where are 
we to get a hundred pounds ? " 

^' Ten pounds a week is ^Ye pounds to us," 
Oswald went on — he had done the sum in his 
head while Alice was talking — "because 
partnership means halves. It would be A 1." 

Noel sat sucking his pencil — he had been 
writing poetry as usual. I saw the first two 
lines — 

I wonder why Green Bice 
Is never very nice. 

Suddenly he said, ''I wish a fairy would come 
down the chimney and drop a jewel on the 
table — a jewel worth just a hundred pounds." 

" She might as well give you the hundred 
pounds while she was about it," said Dora. 



136 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

^' Or while she was about it she might as 
well give us five pounds a week," said Alice. 

'' Or fifty," said I. 

" Or ^Ye hundred," said Dicky. 

I saw H. 0. open his mouth, and I knew 
he was going to say, " Or five thousand," so I 
said — 

^' Well, she won't give us fivepence, but if 
you'd only do as I am always saying, and 
rescue a wealthy old gentleman from deadly 
peril he would give us a pot of money, and 
we could have the partnership and five pounds 
a week. Five pounds a week would buy a 
great many things." 

Then Dicky said, "Why shouldn't we 
borrow it ? " 

So we said, "Who from?" and then he 
read this out of the paper — 



Money Pkivately Without Fees. 
The Bond Street Bank. 

Manager, Z. Boscnhaum. 
Advances cash from £20 to £10,000 on ladies' or 
gentlemen's note of hand alone, without secm^ity. No 
fees. No inquiries. Absolute privacy guaranteed. 

" What does it all mean ? " asked H. O. 
" It means that there is a kind gentleman 
who has a lot of money, and he doesn't know 



THE G. B. 137 

enough poor people to help, so he puts it in the 
paper that he will help them, by lending them 
his money — that's it, isn't it, Dicky ? " 

Dora explained this and Dicky said, '' Yes." 
AndH. 0. said he was a Generous Benefactor, 
like in Miss Edgeworth. Then Noel wanted 
to know what a note of hand was, and Dicky 
knew that, because he had read it in a book, 
and it was just a letter saying you will pay the 
money when you can, and signed with your 
name. 

" No inquiries ! " said Alice. "Oh — Dicky 
— do you think he would ? ' ' 

" Yes, I think so," said Dicky. " I wonder 
Father doesn't go to this kind gentleman. I've 
seen his name before on a circular in Father's 
study." 

" Perhaps he has," said Dora. 

But the rest of us were sure he hadn't, 
because, of course, if he had, there w^ould 
have been more money to buy nice things. 
Just then Pincher jumped up and knocked 
over the painting-water. He is a very care- 
less dog. I wonder why painting-water is 
always such an ugly colour ? Dora ran for a 
duster to wipe it up, and H. 0. dropped drops 
of the water on his hands and said he had got 
the plague. So we played at the plague for a 



138 THE TREASUBE SEEKEBS 

bit, and I was an Arab physician with a bath- 
towel turban, and cured the plague with magic 
acid-drops. After that it was time for dinner, 
and after dinner we talked it all over and 
settled that we would go and see the Generous 
Benefactor the very next day. Of course we 
all wanted to go. But we thought perhaps the 
Gr. B. — it is short for Generous Benefactor — 
would not like it if there were so many of us. 
I have often noticed that it is the worst of our 
being six — people think six a great many, 
when it's children. That sentence looks wrong 
somehow. I mean they don't mind six pairs of 
boots, or six pounds of apples, or six oranges, 
especially in equations, but they seem to think 
you ought not to have five brothers and 
sisters. Of course Dicky was to go, because 
it was his idea. Dora had to go to Black- 
heath to see an old lady, a friend of Father's, 
so she couldn't go. Alice said she ought to 
go, because it said, "Ladies and gentlemen," 
and perhaps the G. B. wouldn't let us have 
the money unless there were both kinds of us. 

H. 0. said Alice wasn't a lady ; and she 
said he wasn't going, anyway. Then he called 
her a disagreeable cat, and she began to cry. 

But Oswald always tries to make up 
quarrels, so he said — 



THE G. B. 139 

'' You're little sillies, both of you ! " 

And Dora said, " Don't cry, Alice ; he only 
meant you weren't a grown-up lady." 

Then H. 0. said, " What else did you think 
I meant. Disagreeable ? " 

So Dicky said, " Don't be disagreeable your- 
self, H. 0. Let her alone and say you're 
sorry, or I'll jolly well make you ! " 

So H. 0. said he was sorry. Then Alice 
kissed him and said she was sorry too ; and 
after that H. 0. gave her a hug, and said, 
" Now I'm really and truly sorry," so it was 
all right. 

Noel went the last time any of us went to 
London, so he was out of it, and Dora said 
she would take him to Blackheath if we'd take 
H. 0. So as there'd been a little disagree- 
ableness we thought it was better to take him, 
and we did. At first we thought we'd tear our 
oldest things a bit more, and put some patches 
of different colours on them, to show the 
G. B. how much we wanted money. But 
Dora said that would be a sort of cheating, 
pretending we were poorer than we are. And 
Dora is right sometimes, though she is our 
elder sister. Then we thought we'd better 
wear our best things, so that the G. B. might 
see we weren't so very poor that he couldn't 



140 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

trust US to pay his money back when we had 
it. But Dora said that would be wrong too. 
So it came to our being quite honest, as Dora 
said, and going just as we were, without even 
washing our faces and hands ; but when I 
looked at H. 0. in the train I wished we had 
not been quite so particularly honest. 

Every one who reads this knows what it is 
like to go in the train, so I shall not tell about 
it — though it was rather fun, especially the 
part where the guard came for the tickets at 
Waterloo, and H. 0. was under the seat and 
pretended to be a dog without a ticket. We 
went to Charing Cross, and we just went round 
to Whitehall to see the soldiers and then by 
St. James's for the same reason — and when 
we'd looked in the shops a bit we got to Brooke 
Street, Bond Street. It was a brass plate on a 
door next to a shop — a very grand place, where 
they sold bonnets and hats — all very bright 
and smart, and no tickets on them to tell you 
the price. We rang a bell and a boy opened 
the door and we asked for Mr. Rosenbaum. 
The boy was not polite ; he did not ask us in. 
So then Dicky gave him his visiting card ; it 
was one of Father's really, but the name is the 
same, Mr. Richard Bastable, and we others 
wrote our names underneath. I happened to 



THE G. B. 141 

have a piece of pink chalk in my pocket and 
we wrote them with that. 

Then the boy shut the door in om^ faces and 
we waited on the step. But presently he came 
down and asked our business. So Dicky 
said — 

" Money advanced, young shaver ! and don't 
be all day about it ! " 

And then he made us wait again, till I was 
quite stiff in my legs, but Alice liked it be- 
cause of looking at i^Q hats and bonnets, and 
at last the door opened, and the boy said — 

" Mr. Kosenbaum will see you," so we wiped 
our feet on the mat, which said so, and we went 
up stairs with soft carpets and into a room. It 
was a beautiful room. I wished then we had 
put on our best things, or at least washed a 
little. But it was too late now. 

The room had velvet curtains and a soft, soft 
carpet, and it was full of the most splendid 
things. Black and gold cabinets, and china, 
and statues, and pictures. There was a picture 
of a cabbage and a pheasant and a dead hare 
that was just like life, and I would have given 
worlds to have it for my own. The fur was 
so natural I should never have been tired of 
looking at it ; but Alice liked the one of the 
girl with the broken jug best. Then besides 



142 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

the pictures there were clocks and candlesticks 
and vases, and gilt looking-glasses, and boxes 
of cigars and scent and things littered all over 
the chairs and tables. It was a wonderful 
place, and in the middle of all the splendour 
was a little old gentleman with a very long 
black coat and a very long white beard and a 
hooky nose — like a falcon. And he put on a 
pair of gold spectacles and looked at us as if he 
knew exactly how much our clothes were worth. 
And then, while we elder ones were thinking 
how to begin, for we had all said "Good morn- 
ing " as we came in, of course, H. 0. began 
before we could stop him. He said — 

"Are you the G. B. ? " 

" The what i " said the little old gentleman. 

" The G. B.," said H. 0., and I winked at 
him to shut up, but he didn't see me, and the 
G. B. did. He waved his hand at me to shut 
up, so I had to, and H. 0. went on — 

" It stands for Generous Benefactor." 

The old gentleman frowned. Then he said, 
" Your Father sent you here, I suppose ? " 

"No he didn't," said Dicky. "Why did 
you think so ?" 

The old gentleman held out the card, and I 
explained that we took that because Father's 
name happens to be the same as Dicky's. 



THE G. B. 143 

" Doesn't he know 3^ou've come ? " 

"No," said Alice, "we shan't tell him till 
we've got the partnership, because his own 
business worries him a good deal and we don't 
want to bother him with ours till its settled, 
and then we shall give him half our share." 

The old gentleman took off his spectacles 
and rumpled his hair with his hands, then he 
said, " Then what did you come for? " 

" We saw your advertisement," Dicky said, 
" and we want a hundred pounds on our note 
of hand, and my sister came so that there 
should be both kinds of us ; and we want it to 
buy a partnership with in the lucrative busi- 
ness for sale of useful patent. No personal 
attendance necessary." 

" I don't think I quite follow you," said the 
G. B. " But one thing I should like settled 
before entering more fully into the matter : 
why did you call me Generous Benefactor?" 

" Well, you see," said Alice, smiling at him 
to show she wasn't frightened, though I know 
really she was, awfully, " we thought it was so 
very kind of you to try to find out the poor 
people who want money and to help them and 
lend them your money." 

" Hum ! " said the G. B. " Sit down." 

He cleared the clocks and vases and candle- 



144 THE TREASUBE SEEKERS 

sticks off some of the chairs, and we sat down. 
The chairs were velvety, with gilt legs. It was 
like a king's palace. 

" Now," he said, "you ought to be at school, 
instead of thinking about money. Why aren't 
you ? " 

We told him that we should go to school 
again when Father could manage it, but mean- 
time we wanted to do something to restore the 
fallen fortunes of the House of Bastable. And 
we said we thought the lucrative patent would 
be a very good thing. He asked a lot of ques- 
tions, and we told him everything we didn't 
think Father would mind our telling, and at 
last he said — 



'^You wish to borrow money. When will 
you repay it ? " 

" As soon as we've got it, of course," Dicky 
said. 

Then the G. B. said to Oswald, " You seem 
the eldest," but I explained to him that it was 
Dicky's idea, so mj being eldest didn't matter. 
Then he said to Dicky — 

" You are a minor, I presume ? " 

Dicky said he wasn't yet, but he had thought 
of being a mining engineer some day, and going 
to Klondike. 

"Minor, not miner," said the G. B. "I 
mean you're not of age ? " 



THE G. B. 145 

"I shall be in ten years, though," said Dicky. 

" Then you might repudiate the loan," said 
the G. B., and Dicky said ''What?" Of 
course he ought to have said "I beg your 
pardon. I didn't quite catch what you said " 
— that is what Oswald would have said. It is 
more polite than " What." 

" Kepudiate the loan," the G. B. repeated. 
'' I mean you might say you would not pay me 
back the money, and the law could not compel 
you to do so." 

" Oh, well, if you think we're such sneaks," 
said Dicky, and he got up off his chair. But 
the G. B. said, " Sit down, sit down; I was 
only joking." 

Then he talked some more, and at last he 
said — 

" I don't advise you to enter into that 
partnership. It's a swindle. Many advertise- 
ments are. And I have not a hundred pounds 
by me to-day to lend you. But I will lend you 
a pound, and you can spend it as you like. 
And when you are twenty-one you shall pay 
me back." 

"I shall pay you back long before that," 

said Dicky. "Thanks, awfully! And what 

about the note of hand ? ' ' 

"Oh," said the G. B., "I'll trust to your 

11 



146 THE TBEASUEE SEEKERS 

honour. Between gentlemen, you know — and 
ladies" — he made a beautiful bow to iVlice — 
^' a word is as good as a bond." 

Then he took out a sovereign, and held it in 
his hand while he talked to us. He gave us a 
lot of good advice about not going into business 
too young, and about doing our lessons — just 
swatting a bit, on our own hook, so as not to 
be put in a low form when we went back to 
school. And all the time he was stroking the 
sovereign and looking at it as if he thought it 
very beautiful. And so it was, for it was a 
new one. Then at last he held it out to Dicky, 
and when Dicky put out his hand for it the 
G. B. suddenly put the sovereign back in his 
pocket. 

^'No," he said, "I won't give you the 
sovereign. I'll give you fifteen shillings, and 
this nice bottle of scent. It's worth far more 
than the five shillings I'm charging you for it. 
And, when you can, you shall pay me back the 
pound, and sixty per cent, interest — sixty per 
cent., sixty per cent " 

^'What's that?" said H. 0. 

The G. B. said he'd tell us that when we 
paid back the sovereign, but sixty per cent, 
was nothing to be afraid of. He gave Dicky 
the money. And the boy was made to call a 



THE G. B. 147 

cab, and the G. B. put us in and shook hands 
with us all, and asked Alice to give him a kiss, 
so she did, and H. 0. would do it too, though 
his face was dirtier than ever. The G. B. paid 
the cabman and told him what station to go to, 
and so we vvent home. 

That evening Father had a letter by the seven 
o'clock post. And when he had read it he 
came up into the nursery. He did not look 
quite so unhappy as usual, but he looked grave. 

" You've been to Mr. Eosenbaum's," he said. 

So we told him all about it. It took a long 
time, and Father sat in the armchair. It was 
jolly. He doesn't often come and talk to us 
now. He has to spend all his time thinking 
about his business. And when we'd told him 
all about it he said — 

"You haven't done any harm this time, 
children ; rather good than harm, indeed. Mr. 
Eosenbaum has written me a very kind letter." 

" Is he a friend of yours, Father ? " Oswald 
asked. 

"He is an acquaintance," said my Father, 
frowning a little, " we have done some business 

together. And this letter " He stopped 

and then said : " No ; you didn't do any harm 
to-day ; but I want you for the future not to 
do anything so serious as to try to buy a 



148 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

partnership without consulting me, that's all. 
I don't want to interfere with your plays and 
pleasures ; but you will consult me about 
business matters, won't you ? " 

Of course we said we should be delighted, 
but then Alice, who was sitting on his knee, 
said, ^' We didn't like to bother you." 

Father said, "I haven't much time to be 
with you, for my business takes most of my 
time. It is an anxious business — but I can't 
bear to think of your being left all alone like 
this." 

He looked so sad we all said we liked being 
alone. And then he looked sadder than ever. 

Then Alice said, " We don't mean that 
exactly, Father. It is rather lonely sometimes, 
since Mother died." 

Then we were all quiet a little while. 

Father stayed with us till we went to bed, 
and when he said good-night he looked 
quite cheerful. So we told him so, and he 
said — 

^' Well, the fact is, that letter took a weight 
off my mind." 

I can't think what he meant — but I am sure 
the G. B. would be pleased if he could know 
he had taken a weight off anybody's mind. 
He is that sort of man, I think. 



THE G. B. 149 

We gave the scent to Dora. It is not quite 
such good scent as we thought it would be, 
but we had fifteen shiUings — and they were all 
good, so is the G. B. 

And until those fifteen shillings were spent 
we felt almost as jolly as though our fortunes 
had been properly restored. You do not 
notice your general fortune so much, as long 
as you have money in your pocket. This is 
why so many children with regular pocket- 
money have never felt it their duty to seek for 
treasure. So, perhaps, our not having pocket- 
money was a blessing in disguise. But the 
disguise was quite impenetrable, like the vil- 
lains' in the books ; and it seemed still more 
so when the fifteen shillings were all spent. 
Then at last the others agreed to let Oswald 
try his way of seeking for treasure, but they 
were not at all keen about it, and man}^ a boy 
less firm than Oswald would have chucked the 
whole thing. But Oswald knew that a hero 
must rely on himself alone. So he stuck to 
it, and presently the others saw their dut}^, and 
backed him up. 



CHAPTEB X. 



151 



CHAPTER X 



LOED TOTTENHAM 



Oswald is a boy of firm and unswerving cha- 
racter, and he had never wavered from his 
first idea. He felt quite certain that the 
books were right, and that the best way to 
restore fallen fortunes was to rescue an old 
gentleman in distress. Then he brings you 
up as his own son : but if you preferred to 
go on being your own father's son I expect 
the old gentleman would make it up to you 
some other way. In the books the least 
thing does it — you put up the railway carriage 
window — or you pick up his purse when he 
drops it — or you say a hymn when he sud- 
denly asks you to, and then your fortune is 
made. 

The others, as I said, were very slack about 
it, and did not seem to care much about trying 
the rescue. They said there wasn't any deadly 



153 



154 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

peril, and we should have to make one before 
we could rescue the old gentleman from it, but 
Oswald didn't see that that mattered. How- 
ever, he thought he would try some of the 
easier ways first, by hi^mself. 

So he waited about at the station, pulling 
up railway carriage windows for old gentlemen 
who looked likely — but nothing happened, and 
at last the porters said he was a nuisance. So 
that was no go. No one ever asked him to say 
a hymn, though he had learned a nice short 
one, beginning " New every morning " — and 
when an old gentleman did drop a two- shilling 
piece just by Ellis's the hairdresser's, and 
Oswald picked it up, and was just thinking 
what he should say when he returned it, the 
old gentleman caught him by the collar and 
called him a young thief. It would have been 
very unpleasant for Oswald if he hadn't hap- 
pened to be a very brave boy, and knew the 
policeman on that beat very well indeed. So 
the policeman backed him up, and the old 
gentleman said he was sorry, and offered 
Oswald sixpence. Oswald refused it with 
polite disdain, and nothing more happened at 
all. 

When Oswald had tried by himself and it 
had not come off, he said to the others, "We're 




" The old gentleman caught him by the collar, and called him a young thief." 



LORD TOTTENHAM 155 

wasting our time, not trying to rescue the old 
gentleman in deadly peril. Come — buck up ! 
Do let's do something ! " 

It was dinner-time, and Pincher was going 
round getting the bits off the plates. There 
were plenty because it was cold-mutton day. 
And Alice said — 

''It's only fair to try Oswald's way — he has 
tried all the things the others thought of. Wh}^ 
couldn't we rescue Lord Tottenham ? " 

Lord Tottenham is the old gentleman who 
walks over the Heath every day in a paper 
collar at three o'clock — and when he gets half 
way, if there is no one about, he changes his 
collar and throws the dirty one into the furze- 
bushes. 

Dicky said, " Lord Tottenham's all right — 
but where's the deadly peril ? " 

And we couldn't think of an}^ There are 
no highwaymen on Blackheath now, I am sorry 
to say. And though Oswald said half of us 
could be highwaymen and the other half rescue 
party, Dora kept on saying it would be wrong 
to be a highwayman — and so we had to give 
that up. 

Then Alice said, " What about Pincher? " 

And we all saw at once that it could be 
done. 



156 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

Pincher is very well bred, and he does know 
one or two things, though we never could 
teach him to beg. But if you tell him to 
hold on — he will do it, even if you only say 
" Seize him ! " in a whisper. 

So we arranged it all. Dora said she wouldn't 
play ; she said she thought it was wrong, and 
she knew it was silly — so we left her out, and 
she went and sat in the dining-room with a 
goody book, so as to be able to say she didn't 
have anything to do with it, if we got into 
a row over it. 

Alice and H. O. were to hide in the furze- 
bushes just by where Lord Tottenham changes 
his collar, and they were to whisper, "Seize 
him!" to Pincher; and then when Pincher 
had seized Lord Tottenham we were to go and 
rescue him from his deadly peril. And he 
would say, " How can I reward you, my noble 
young preservers?" and it would be all 
right. 

So we went up to the Heath. We were 
afraid of being late. Oswald told the others 
what Procrastination w^as — so they got to the 
furze-bushes a little after two o'clock, and it 
was rather cold. Alice and H. 0. and Pincher 
hid, but Pincher did not like it any more than 
they did, and as we three walked up and down 



LORD TOTTENHAM 157 

we heard him whining. And Alice kept 
saying, '' I am so cold ! Isn't he coming 
yet ? " And H. 0. wanted to come out and 
jump about to warm himself. But we told 
him he must learn to be a Spartan boy, and 
that he ought to be very thankful he hadn't 
got a beastly fox eating his inside all the time. 
H. 0. is our little brother, and we are not 
going to let it be our fault if he grows up a 
milksop. Besides, it was not really cold. It 
was his knees — he wears socks. So they stayed 
where they were. And at last, when even the 
other three who were walking about were 
beginning to feel rather chilly, we saw Lord 
Tottenham's big black cloak coming along, 
flapping in the wind like a great bird. So 
we said to Alice — 

^'Hist ! he approaches. You'll know when 
to set Pincher on by hearing Lord Tottenham 
talking to himself — he always does while he is 
taking off his collar." 

Then we three walked slowly away whistling 
to show we were not thinking of anything. 
Our lips were rather cold, but we managed to 
do it. 

Lord Tottenham came striding along, talk- 
ing to himself. People call him the mad Pro- 
tectionist. I don't know what it means — but 



158 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

I don't think people ought to call a Lord such 
names. 

As he passed us he said, " Euin of the 
country, sir! Fatal error, fatal error ! " And 
then we looked back and saw he was getting 
quite near where Pincher was, and Alice and 
H. 0. We walked on — so that he shouldn't 
think we were looking — and in a minute we 
heard Pincher' s bark, and then nothing for a 
bit ; and then we looked round, and sure 
enough good old Pincher had got Lord 
Tottenham by the trouser leg and was hold- 
ing on like billy-oh, so we started to run. 

Lord Tottenham had got his collar half oE 
— it was sticking out sideways under his ear — 
and he was shouting, '' Help, help, murder ! " 
exactly as if some one had explained to him 
beforehand what he was to do. Pincher was 
growling and snarling and holding on. When 
we got up to him I stopped and said — 

^' Dicky, we must rescue this good old 
man." 

Lord Tottenham roared in his fury, '' Good 

old man be ■'' something orothered. " Call 

the dog off ! " 

So Oswald said, "It is a dangerous task — 
but who would hesitate to do an act of true 
bravery ? " 




■or, 

03 



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o 

— I 



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t^l 



LOBD TOTTENHAM 159 

And all the while Pincher was worrying and 
snarling, and Lord Tottenham shouting to us 
to get the dog away. He was dancing about 
in the road with Pincher hanging on like grim 
death ; and his collar flapping about, where it 
was undone. 

Then Noel said, "Haste, ere yet it be too 
late." So I said to Lord Tottenham — 

" Stand still, aged sir, and I will endeavour 
to alleviate your distress." 

He stood still, and I stooped down and 
caught hold of Pincher and whispered, " Drop 
it, sir ; drop it ! " 

So then Pincher dropped it, and Lord Tot- 
tenham fastened his collar again — he never 
does change it if there's anyone looking — and 
he said — 

" I'm much obliged, I'm sure. Nasty vicious 
brute ! Here's something to drink my health." 

But Dicky explained that we are teetotalers, 
and do not drink peoples' healths. So Lord 
Tottenham said, "Well, I'm much obliged 
any way. x\nd now I come to look at you — 
of course, you're not young ruffians, but 
gentlemen's sons, eh ? Still, you won't be 
above taking a tip from an old boy — I wasn't 
when I was your age," and he pulled out half 
a sovereign. 



160 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

It was very silly ; but now we'd done it I 
felt it would be beastly mean to take the old 
boy's chink after putting him in such a funk. 
He didn't say anything about bringing us up 
as his own sons — so I didn't know what 
to do. I let Pincher go, and was just going to 
say he was very welcome, and we'd rather not 
have the money, which seemed the best way 
out of it, when that beastly dog spoiled the 
whole show. Directly I let him go he began 
to jump about at us and bark for joy, and try 
to lick our faces. He was so proud of what 
he'd done. Lord Tottenham opened his eyes 
and he just said, "The dog seems to know 
you." 

And then Oswald saw it was all up, and 
he said, " Good morning," and tried to get 
away. But Lord Tottenham said — 

"Not so fast! " And he caught Noel by 
the collar. Noel gave a howl, and Alice ran 
out from the bushes. Noel is her favourite. 
I'm sure I don't know why. Lord Tottenham 
looked at her, and he said — 

" So there are more of you! " And then 
H. 0. came out. 

"Do you complete the party? " Lord Tot- 
tenham asked him. And H. 0. said there were 
only five of us this time. 




o 






o 



LOBD TOTTENHAM 161 

Lord Tottenham turned sharp off and began 
to walk away, holding Noel by the collar. We 
caught up with him, and asked him where he 
was going, and he said, " To the Police 
Station." So then I said quite politely, 
" Well, don't take Noel; he's not strong, and 
he easily gets upset. Besides, it wasn't his 
doing. If you want to take any one take 
me — it was my very own idea." 

Dicky behaved very well. He said, " If you 
take Oswald I'll go too, but don't take Noel ; 
he's such a delicate little chap." 

Lord Tottenham stopped, and he said, 
"You should have thought of that before." 
Noel was howling all the time, and his face 
was very white, and iVlice said — 

" Oh, do let Noel go, dear, good, kind Lord 
Tottenham ; he'll faint if you don't, I know 
he will, he does sometimes. Oh, I wish we'd 
never done it ! Dora said it was wrong." 

" Dora displayed considerable common- 
sense," said Lord Tottenham, and he let Noel 
go. And Alice put her arm round Noel and 
tried to cheer him up, but he was all trembly, 
and as white as paper. 

Then Lord Tottenham said — 

" Will you give me your word of honour not 
to try to escape ? " 

12 ' 



162 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

So we said we would. 

'' Then follow me," he said, and led the way 
to a bench. We all followed, and Pincher too, 
with his tail between his legs — he knew some- 
thing was wrong. Then Lord Tottenham sat 
down, and he made Oswald and Dicky and 
H. 0. stand in front of him, but he let Alice 
and Noel sit down. And he said — 

'' You set your dog on me, and you tried to 
make me believe you were saving me from 
it. And you would have taken my half-sove- 
reign. Such conduct is most No — you 

shall tell me what it is, sir, and speak the 
truth." 

So I had to say it was most ungentlemanly, 
but I said I hadn't been going to take the half- 
sovereign. 

" Then what did you do it for? " he asked. 
'^ The truth, mind." 

So I said, '^ I see now it was very silly, 
and Dora said it was wrong, but it didn't seem 
so till we did it. We wanted to restore the 
fallen fortunes of our house, and in the books 
if you rescue an old gentleman from deadly 
peril, he brings you up as his own son — or if 
you prefer to be your Father's son, he starts 
you in business, so that you end in wealthy 
afHuence ; and there wasn't any deadly peril. 



LOBD TOTTENHAM 163 

SO we made Pincher into one — and so " I 

was so ashamed I couldn't go on, for it did 
seem an awfully mean thing. Lord Totten- 
ham said — 

^' Avery nice way to make your fortune — 



by deceit and trickery. I have a horror of 
dogs. If I'd been a weak man the shock 
might have killed me. What do you think 
of yourselves, eh ? " 

We vv^ere all crying except Oswald, and the 
others say he was ; and Lord Tottenham went 
on — 

** Well, well, I see you're sorry. Let this 
be a lesson to you ; and we'll say no more 
about it. I'm an old man now, but I was 
young once." 

Then Alice slid along the bench close to him, 
and put her hand on his arm : her fingers were 
pink through the holes in her woolly gloves, 
and said, ^' I think you're very good to forgive 
us, and we are really very, very sorry. But we 
wanted to be like the children in the books — 
only we never have the chances they have. 
Everything they do turns out all right. But 
we are sorry, very, very. And I know Oswald 
wasn't going to take the half - sovereign. 
Directly you said that about a tip from an 
old boy I began to feel bad inside, and I 



164 THE TREA8UBE SEEKERS 

whispered to H. 0. that I wished we 
hadn't." 

Then Lord Tottenham stood up, and he 
looked hke the Death of Nelson, for he is clean 
shaved and it is a good face, and he said — 

" Always remember never to do a dishonour- 
able thing, for money or for anything else in 
the world." 

And we promised we would remember. Then 
he took off his hat, and we took off ours, and 
he went away, and we went home. I never 
felt so cheap in all my life! Dora said, "I 
told you so," but we didn't mind even that 
so much, though it was indeed hard to bear. 
It was what Lord Tottenham had said about 
ungentlemanly. We didn't go on to the Heath 
for a week after that ; but at last we all went, 
and we waited for him by the bench. When he 
came along Alice said, ^' Please, Lord Totten- 
ham, we have not been on the Heath for a week, 
to be a punishment because you let us off. And 
we have brought you a present each if you will 
take them to show you are willing to make it 
up." 

He sat down on the bench, and we gave him 
our presents. Osw^ald gave him a sixpenny 
compass — he bought it with my own money on 
purpose to give him. Oswald always buys 



LOBD TOTTENHAM 165 

useful presents. The needle would not move 
after I'd had it a day or two, but Lord Tot- 
tenham used to be an admiral, so he will be 
able to make that go all right. Alice had 
made him a shaving-case, wdth a rose worked 
on it. And H. 0. gave him his knife — the 
same one he once cut all the buttons off his 
best suit w^ith. Dicky gave him his prize, 
" Naval Heroes," because it was the best 
thing he had, and Noel gave him a piece of 
poetry he had made himself : — 

When sin and shame bow down the brow 
Then people feel just like we do now. 
We are so sorry with grief and pain 
We never will be so ungentlemanly again. 

Lord Tottenham seemed very pleased. He 
thanked us, and talked to us for a bit, and 
when he said goodbye, he said — 

^' All's fair weather now, mates," and shook 
hands. 

And whenever we meet him he nods to us, 
and if the girls are with us he takes off his 
hat, so he can't really be going on thinking 
us ungentlemanly now. 



CHAPTEB XI, 



167 



CHAPTEE XI 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 



One day when we suddenly found that we had 
half a crown we decided that we really ought 
to try Dicky's way of restoring our fallen 
fortunes while yet the deed w^as in our power. 
Because it might easily have happened to us 
never to have half a crown again. So we 
decided to dally no longer with being journa- 
lists and bandits and things like them, but 
to send for sample and instructions how 
to earn two pounds a week each in our 
spare time. We had seen the advertisement 
in the paper, and we had always wanted 
to do it, but we had never had the money 
to spare before, somehow. The advertise- 
ment says: "Any lady or gentleman can 
easily earn two pounds a week in their 
spare time. Sample and instructions, two 



169 



170 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

shillings. Packed free from observation." A 
good deal of the half-crown was Dora's. It 
came from her godmother ; but she said she 
would not mind letting Dicky have it if he 
would pay her back before Christmas, and if 
we were sure it was right to try to make our 
fortune that way. Of course that was quite 
easy, because out of two pounds a week in 
your spare time you can easily pay all your 
debts, and have almost as much left as you 
began with ; and as to right we told her to 
dry up. 

Dicky had always thought that this was 
really the best way to restore our fallen for- 
tunes, and we were glad that now he had a 
chance of trying, because of course we wanted 
the two pounds a week each, and besides, we 
were rather tired of Dicky's always saying 
when our ways didn't turn out well, '' Why 
don't you try the sample and instructions 
about our spare time ? " 

When we found out about our half-crown 
we got the paper. Noel was playing admirals 
in it, but he had made the cocked hat without 
tearing the paper, and we found the advertise- 
ment, and it said just the same as ever. So 
we got a two shilling postal-order and a stamp, 
and what was left of the money it was agreed 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 171 

we would spend in ginger-beer to drink suc- 
cess to trade. 

We got some nice paper out of Father's 
study, and Dicky wrote the letter, and we put 
in the money and put on the stamp, and made 
H. 0. post it. Then we drank the ginger- 
beer, and then we waited for the sample and 
instructions. It seemed a long time coming, 
and the postman got quite tired of us running 
out and stopping him in the street to ask if 
it had come. 

But on the third morning it came. It was 
quite a large parcel, and it was packed, as the 
advertisement said it would be, '' free from 
observation." That means it was in a box ; 
and inside the box was some stiff browny 
cardboard, crinkled like the galvanised iron 
on the tops of chicken-houses, and inside that 
was a lot of paper, some of it printed and 
some scrappy, and in the very middle of it all 
a bottle, not very large, and black, and sealed 
on the top of the cork with yellow sealing- 
wax. 

We looked at it as it lay on the nursery 
table, and while all the others grabbed at the 
papers to see what the printing said, Oswald 
went to look for the corkscrew, so as to see 
what was inside the bottle. He found the 



172 THE TBEASVBE SEEKERS 

corkscrew in the dresser drawer — it always 
gets there, though it is supposed to be in 
the sideboard drawer in the dining-room — and 
when he got back the others had read most 
of the printed papers. 

^' I don't think it's much good, and I don't 
think it's quite nice to sell wine," Dora said ; 
" and besides, it's not easy to suddenly 
begin to sell things when you aren't used 
to it." 

^' I don't know," said Alice ; " I believe 
I could." 

They all looked rather down in the mouth, 
though, and Oswald asked how you were to 
make your two pounds a week. 

"Why, you've got to get people to taste 
that stuff in the bottle. It's sherry — Cas- 
tilian Amoroso its name is — and then you 
get them to buy it, and then you write to 
the people and tell them the other people 
want the wine, and then for every dozen 
you sell you get two shillings from the wine 
people, so if you sell twenty dozen a week 
you get your two pounds. I don't think we 
shall sell as much as that," said Dicky. 

" We might not the first week," Alice 
said, " but when people found out how nice 
it was, they would want more and more. 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 173 

And if we only got ten shillings a week it 
would be something to begin with, wouldn't it ?" 

Oswald said he should jolly well think it 
would, and then Dicky took the cork out 
with the corkscrew. The cork broke a good 
deal, and some of the bits went into the 
bottle. Dora got the medicine glass that has 
the teaspoons and tablespoons marked on it, 
and we agreed to have a teaspoonful each, 
to see what it was like. 

" No one must have more than that," 
Dora said, "however nice it is." Dora be- 
haved rather as if it were her bottle. I 
suppose it was, because she had lent the 
money for it. 

Then she measured out the teaspoonful, 
and she had first go, because of being the 
eldest. We asked at once what it was like, 
but Dora could not speak just then. 

Then she said, "It's like the tonic Noel 
had in the spring ; but perhaps sherry ought 
to be like that." 

Then it was Oswald's turn. He thought it 
was very burny ; but he said nothing. He 
wanted to see first what the others would 
say. 

Dicky said his was simply beastly, and 
Alice said Noel could taste next if he liked. 



174 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

Noel said it was the golden wine of the 
gods, but he had to put his handkerchief up 
to his mouth all the same, and I saw the face 
he made. 

Then H. 0. had his, and he spat it out in 
the fire, which was very rude and nasty, and 
we told him so. 

Then it was Alice's turn. She said, 
" Only half a teaspoonful for me, Dora. We 
mustn't use it all up." And she tasted it 
and said nothing. 

Then Dicky said: "Look here, I chuck 
this. I'm not going to hawk round such 
beastly stuff. Any one who likes can have 
the bottle. Qiiis ? " 

And Alice got out ^' Ego'' before the rest 
of us. Then she said, "I know what's the 
matter with it. It wants sugar." 

And at once we all saw that that was all 
there was the matter with the stuff. So we 
got two lumps of sugar and crushed it on the 
floor with one of the big wooden bricks till it 
was powdery, and mixed it with some of the 
wine up to the tablespoon mark, and it was 
quite different, and not nearly so nasty. 

"You see it's all right when you get used 
to it," Dicky said. I think he was sorry he 
had said " Quis .^ " in such a hurry. 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 175 

" Of course " Alice said, " it's rather dusty. 
We must crush the sugar carefully in clean 
paper before we put it in the bottle." 

Dora said she was afraid it would be 
cheating to make our bottle nicer than what 
people would get when they ordered a dozen 
bottles, but Alice said Dora always made a 
fuss about everything, and really it would be 
quite honest. 

" You see," she said, '' I shall just tell them, 
quite truthfully, what we have done to it, and 
when their dozens come they can do it for 
themselves." 

So then we crushed eight more lumps, very 
cleanly and carefully between newspapers, and 
shook it up well in the bottle, and corked it 
up with a screw of paper, brown and not 
news, for fear of the poisonous printing ink 
getting wet and dripping down into the wine 
and killing people. We made Pincher have 
a taste, and he sneezed for ever so long, and 
after that he used to go under the sofa when- 
ever we showed him the bottle. 

Then we asked Alice who she would try and 
sell it to. She said : "I shall ask everybody 
who comes to the house. And while we are 
doing that, we can be thinking of outside 
people to take it to. We must be careful : 



176 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

there's not much more than half of it left, 
even counting the sugar." 

We did not wish to tell Eliza — I don't know 
why. And she opened the door very quickly 
that day, so that the Taxes and a man who 
came to our house by mistake for next door 
got away before Alice had a chance to try 
them with the Castilian Amoroso. But about 
five Eliza slipped out for half an hour to see 
a friend who was making her a hat for Sunday, 
and while she was gone there was a knock. 

Alice went, and we looked over the banisters. 

When she opened the door, she said at 
once, "Will you walk in, please?" 

The person at the door said, "I called to 
see your Pa, miss. Is he at home ? " 

Alice said again, " Will you walk in, 
please ? " 

Then the person — it sounded like a man — 
said, "He is in, then?" But Alice only 
kept on saying, " Will you walk in, please ? " 
so at last the man did, rubbing his boots very 
loudly on the mat. Then Alice shut the front 
door, and we saw that it was the butcher, with 
an envelope in his hand. He was not dressed 
in blue, like when he is cutting up the sheep 
and things in the shop, and he wore knicker- 
bockers. Alice says he came on a bicycle. 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 177 

She led the way into the dining-room, where 
the Castihan Amoroso bottle and the medicine 
glass were standing on the table all ready. 

The others stayed on the stairs, but Oswald 
crept down and looked through the door-crack. 

^' Please sit down," said Alice quite calmly, 
though she told me afterwards I had no idea 
how silly she felt. And the butcher sat down. 
Then Alice stood quite still and said nothing, 
but she fiddled with the medicine glass and 
put the screw of brown paper straight in the 
Castilian bottle. 

" Will you tell your Pa I'd like a word with 
him ? " the butcher said, when he got tired 
of saying nothing. 

" He'll be in very soon, I think," Alice said. 

And then she stood still again and said 
nothing. It was beginning to look very 
idiotic of her, and H. 0. laughed. I went 
back and cuffed him for it quite quietly, and 
I don't think the butcher heard. But Alice 
did, and it roused her from her stupor. She 
spoke suddenly, very fast indeed — so fast that 
I knew she had made up what she was going 
to say before. She had got most of it out of 
the circular. 

She said, " I want to call your attention 
to a sample of sherry wine I have here. It 

13 



178 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

is called Castilian something or other, and at 
the price it is unequalled for flavour and 
bouquet." 

The butcher said, " Well — I never ! " 

And Alice went on, "Would you like to 
taste it ? " 

'' Thank you very much, I'm sure, miss," 
said the butcher. 

Alice poured some out. 

The butcher tasted a very little. He licked 
his lips, and we thought he was going to say 
how good it was. But he did not. He put 
down the medicine glass with nearly all the 
stuff left in it (we put it back in the bottle 
afterwards to save waste) and said, " Excuse 
me, miss, but isn't it a little sweet ? — for 
sherry I mean ? " 

u iji]^g ^.^^i isn't," said Alice. " If you order 
a dozen it will come quite different to that — 
we like it best with sugar. I wish you would 
order some." 

The butcher asked why. 

Alice did not speak for a minute, and then 
she said — 

"I don't mind telling you: you are in 
business yourself, aren't you ? We are try- 
ing to get people to buy it, because we shall 
have two shillings for every dozen we can 



CASTILIAN AMOBOSO 179 

make any one buy. It's called a purr some- 
thing." 

" xl percentage. Yes, I see," said the 
butcher, looking at the hole in the carpet. 

"You see there are reasons," Alice went 
on, 'Svhy we want to make our fortunes as 
quickly as we can." 

" Quite so," said the butcher, and he looked 
at the place where the paper is coming off the 
wall. 

" And this seems a good way," Alice went 
on. " We paid two shillings for the sample 
and instructions, and it says you can make 
two pounds a week easily in your leisure 
time." 

" I'm sure I hope you may, miss," said the 
butcher. 

And Alice said again would he buy some ? 

" Sherry is my favourite wine," he said. 

Alice asked him to have some more to drink. 

" No, thank you, miss," he said ; " it's my 
favourite wine, but it doesn't agree with me ; 
not the least bit. But I've an uncle drinks 
it. Suppose I ordered him half a dozen for 
a Christmas present ? Well, miss, here's the 
shilling commission, anyway," and he pulled 
out a handful of money and gave her the 
shilling. 



180 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

*' But I thought the wine people paid that," 
AHce said. 

But the butcher said not on half-dozens 
they didn't. Then he said he didn't think 
he'd wait any longer for Father — but would 
Alice ask Father to write him ? 

Alice offered him the sherry again, but he 
said something about '' Not for worlds ! " — and 
then she let him out and came back to us 
with the shilling, and said, '^ How's that?" 
And we said " A 1." 

And all the evening we talked of our for- 
tune that we had begun to make. 

Nobody came next day, but the day after 
a lady came to ask for money to build an 
orphanage for the children of dead sailors. 
And we saw her. I went in with Alice. And 
when we had explained to her that we had 
only a shilling and we wanted it for something 
else, Alice suddenly said, " Would you like 
some wine? " 

And the lady said, " Thank you very much," 
but she looked surprised. She was not a 
young lady, and she had a mantle with beads, 
and the beads had come off in places — leaving 
a browny braid showing, and she had printed 
papers about the dead sailors in a sealskin 
bag, and the seal had come off in places, 
leaving the skin bare. 



CASTILIAN AMOBOSO 181 

We gave her a tablespoonful of the wine 
in a proper wine-glass out of the sideboard, 
because she was a lady. And when she had 
tasted it she got up in a very great hurry, 
and shook out her dress and snapped her bag 
shut, and said, " You naughty, wicked chil- 
dren ! What do you mean by playing a trick 
like this ? You ought to be ashamed of your- 
selves ! I shall write to your Mamma about 
it. You dreadful little girl ! — you might have 
poisoned me. But your Mamma ..." 

Then Alice said, " I'm very sorry ; the 
butcher liked it, only he said it was sweet. 
And please don't write to Mother. It makes 
Father so unhappy when letters come for her," 
— and Alice was very near crying. 

"What do you mean, you silly child?" 
said the lady, looking quite bright and inte- 
rested. "Why doesn't your Father like your 
Mother to have letters — eh ? " 

And Alice said, " Oh, you . . . . ! " and 
began to cry, and bolted out of the room. 

Then I said, " Our Mother is dead, and will 
you please go away now ? " 

The lady looked at me a minute, and then 
she looked quite different, and she said, 
" I'm very sorry. I didn't know. Never 
mind about the wine. I daresay your little 



182 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

sister meant it kindly." And she looked round 
the room just like the butcher had done. 
Then she said again, " I didn't know — I'm 
very sorry. ..." 

So I said, "Don't mention it," and shook 
hands with her, and let her out. Of course 
we couldn't have asked her to buy the wine 
after what she'd said. But I think she was 
not a bad sort of person. I do like a person 
to say they're sorry when they ought to be 
— especially a grown-up. They do it so 
seldom. I suppose that's why we think so 
much of it. 

But Alice and I didn't feel jolly for ever so 
long afterwards. And when I went back into 
the dining-room I saw how different it was from 
when Mother was here, and we are different, 
and Father is different, and nothing is like it 
was. I am glad I am not made to think 
about it every day. 

I went and found Alice, and told her what 
the lady had said, and when she had finished 
crying we put away the bottle and said we 
would not try to sell any more to people who 
came. And we did not tell the others — we 
onlj^ said the lady did not buy any — but we 
went up on the Heath, and some soldiers 
went by, and there was a Punch-and-Judy 



CASTILIAN AMOEOSO 183 

show, and when we came back we were 
better. 

The bottle got quite dusty where we had 
put it, and perhaps the dust of ages would 
have laid thick and heavy on it, only a clergy- 
man called when we were all out. He was 
not our own clergyman — Mr. Bristow is our 
own clergyman, and we all love him, and we 
would not try to sell sherry to people we like, 
and make two pounds a week out of them in 
our spare time. It was another clergyman, 
just a stray one ; and he asked Eliza if the 
dear children would not like to come to his 
little Sunday school. We always spend Sun- 
day afternoons with Father. But as he had 
left the name of his vicarage with Eliza, and 
asked her to tell us to come, we thought we 
would go and call on him, just to explain 
about Sunday afternoons, and we thought we 
might as well take the sherry with us. 

'' I won't go unless you all go too," Alice 
said, '' and I won't do the talking." 

Dora said she thought we had much better 
not go ; but we said " Eot ! " and it ended in 
her coming with us, and I am glad she did. 

Oswald said he would do the talking if the 
others liked, and he learned up what to say 
from the printed papers. 



184 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

We went to the Vicarage early on Saturday 
afternoon, and rang at the bell. It is a new 
red house with no trees in the garden, only 
very yellow mould and gravel. It was all 
very neat and dry. Just before we rang the 
bell we heard some one inside call "Jane! 
Jane ! ' ' and we thought we would not be Jane 
for anything. It was the sound of the voice 
that called that made us sorry for her. 

The door was opened by a very neat servant 
in black, with a white apron ; we saw her 
tying the strings as she came along the hall, 
through the different-coloured glass in the 
door. Her face was red, and I think she was 
Jane. 

We asked if we could see Mr. Mallow. 

The servant said Mr. Mallow was very busy 
with his sermon just then, but she would see. 

But Oswald said, " It's all right. He asked 
us to come." 

So she let us all in and shut the front door, 
and showed us into a very tidy room with a 
bookcase full of a lot of books covered in black 
cotton with white labels, and some dull pic- 
tures, and a harmonium. And Mr. Mallow 
was writing at a desk with drawers, copjdng 
something out of a book. He was stout and 
short, and wore spectacles. 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 185 

He covered his writing up when we went 
in — I didn't know why. He looked rather 
cross, and we heard Jane or somebody being 
scolded outside by the voice. I hope it wasn't 
for letting us in, but I have had doubts. 

''Well," said the clergyman, "what is all 
this about ? " 

"You asked us to call," Dora said, " about 
your little Sunday school. We are the Bast- 
ables of Lewisham Koad." 

"Oh — ah, yes," he said; "and shall I 
expect you all to-morrow?" He took up 
his pen and fiddled with it, and he did not 
ask us to sit down. But some of us did. 

"We always spend Sunday afternoon with 
Father," said Dora ; " but we wished to thank 
you for being so kind as to ask us." 

" And we wished to ask you something 
else ! " said Oswald; and he made a sign to 
Alice to get the sherry ready in the glass. 
She did — behind Oswald's back while he was 
speaking. 

"My time is limited," said Mr. Mallow, 

looking at his w^atch ; " but still " Then 

he muttered something about the fold, and 
went on: "Tell me what is troubling you, 
my little man, and I will try to give you any 
help in my power. What is it you want ? " 



186 THE TBEASURE SEEKERS 

Then Oswald quickly took the glass from 
Ahce, and held it out to him, and said, "I 
want your opinion on that." 

'' On that,'' he said. " What is it ? " 

'' It is a shipment," Oswald said ; '' but it's 
quite enough for you to taste." Alice had 
filled the glass half -full ; I suppose she was 
too excited to measure properly. 

" A shipment ? " said the clergyman, taking 
the glass in his hand. 

"Yes," Oswald went on; "an exceptional 
opportunity. Full-bodied and nutty." 

" It really does taste rather like one kind of 
Brazil-nut." Alice put her oar in as usual. 

The Yicar looked from Alice to Oswald, and 
back again, and Oswald went on with what he 
had learned from the printing. The clergy- 
man held the glass at half-arm's length, 
stiffly, as if he had caught cold. 

"It is of a quality never before offered at 
the price. Old Delicate Amoro — what's it's 
name — " 

" Amorolio," said H. 0. 

"Amoroso," said Oswald. " H. 0., you 
just shut up — Castilian Amoroso — it's a true 
after-dinner wine, stimulating and yet . . ." 

''Winer' said Mr. Mallow, holding the 
glass farther off. "Do you hioio," he went 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 187 

on, making his voice very thick and strong 
(I expect he does it like that in church), '' have 
you never been taught that it is the drinking 
of taine and spirits — yes, and beee, which 
makes half the homes in England full of 
wretched little children, and degraded^ miser- 
able parents ? " 

" Not if you put sugar in it," said Alice 
firmly; "eight lumps and shake the bottle. 
We have each had more than a teaspoonful 
of it, and we were not ill at all. It was 
something else that upset H. 0. Most likely 
all those acorns he got out of the Park." 

The clergyman seemed to be speechless 
with conflicting emotions, and just then the 
door opened and a lady came in. She had a 
white cap with lace, and an ugly violet flower 
in it, and she was tall, and looked very strong, 
though thin. And I do believe she had been 
listening at the door. 

" But why," the Yicar was saying, '' why 
did you bring this dreadful fluid, this curse 
of our country, to me to taste?" 

" Because we thought you might buy some," 
said Dora, who never sees when a game is up. 
" In books the parson loves his bottle of old 
port ; and new sherry is just as good — with 
sugar — for people who like sherry. And if 



188 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

you would order a dozen of the wine, then 
we should get two shillings." 

The lady said (and it was the voice), 
^'Good gracious ! Nasty, sordid little things ! 
Haven't they any one to teach them bet- 
ter? " 

And Dora got up and said, " No, we are not 
those things you say ; but we are sorry we 
came here to be called names. We want to 
make our fortune just as much as Mr. Mallow 
does — only no one would listen to us if we 
preached, so it's no use our copying out 
sermons like him." 

And I think that was smart of Dora, even 
if it was rather rude. 

Then I said perhaps we had better go, and 
the lady said, " I should think so ! " But 
when we were going to wrap up the bottle 
and glass the clergyman said, '' No ; you can 
leave that," and we were so upset we did, 
though it wasn't his after all. 

We walked home very fast and not saying 
much, and the girls went up to their room. 
When I went to tell them tea was ready, and 
there was a teacake, Dora was crying like 
anything and Alice hugging her. I am afraid 
there is a great deal of crying in this chapter, 
but I can't help it. Girls will sometimes ; 



CASTILIAN AMOROSO 189 

I suppose it is their nature, and we ought 
to be sorry for their affliction. 

" It's no good," Dora was saying, " you all 
hate me, and you think I'm a prig and a busy- 
body, but I do try to do right — oh, I do ! 
Oswald, go away ; don't come here making 
fun of me ! " 

So I said, "I'm not making fun. Sissy; 
don't cry, old girl." 

Mother taught me to call her Sissy when 
we were very little and before the others 
came, but I don't often somehow, now we 
are old. I patted her on the back, and she 
put her head against my sleeve, holding on 
to Alice all the time, and she went on. She 
was in that laughy-cryey state when people 
say things they wouldn't say at others 
times. 

" Oh dear, oh dear — I do try, I do. And 
when Mother died she said, ' Dora, take care 
of the others, and teach them to be good, and 
keep them out of trouble, and make them 
happy.' She said, ' Take care of them for 
me, Dora dear.' And I have tried, and all 
of you hate me for it ; and to-day I let you 
do this, though I knew all the time it was 
silly." 

I hope you will not think I was a muff, but 



190 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEES 

I kissed Dora for some time. Because girls 
like it. And I will never say again that she 
comes the good elder sister too much. And 
I have put all this in though I do hate telling 
about it, because I own I have been hard on 
Dora, but I never will be again. She is a 
good old sort ; of course we never knew before 
about what Mother told her, or we wouldn't 
have ragged her as we did. We did not tell 
the little ones, but I got Alice to speak to 
Dicky, and we three can sit on the others 
if requisite. 

This made us forget all about the sherry ; 
but about eight o'clock there was a knock, 
and Eliza went, and we saw it was poor Jane, 
if her name was Jane, from the Vicarage. 
She handed in a brown-paper parcel and a 
letter. And three minutes later Father called 
us into his study. 

On the table was the brown-paper parcel, 
open, with our bottle and glass on it, and 
Father had a letter in his hand. Pie pointed 
to the bottle and sighed, and said, " What 
have you been doing now ? " The letter in 
his hand was covered with little black writing, 
all over the four large pages. 

So Dicky spoke up, and he told Father the 
whole thing, as far as he knew it, for Alice 



CASTILIAN AMOBOSO 191 

and I had not told about the dead sailor's 
lady. 

And when he had done, Alice said, ^'Has 
Mr. Mallow written to you to say he will buy 
a dozen of the sherry after all ? It is really 
not half bad with sugar in it." 

Father said no, he didn't think clergymen 
could afford such expensive wine ; and he said 
he would like to taste it. So we gave him 
what there was left, for we had decided coming 
home that we would give up trying for the 
two pounds a week in our spare time. 

Father tasted it, and then he acted just as 
H. 0. had done when he had his teaspoonful, 
but of course we did not say anything. Then 
he laughed till I thought he would never stop. 
I think it was the sherry, because I am sure 
I have read somewhere about ^'wine that 
maketh glad the heart of man." He had 
only a very little, which shows that it was 
a good after-dinner wine, stimulating, and 
yet ... I forget the rest. 

But when he had done laughing he said, 
'^ It's all right, kids. Only don't do it again. 
The wine trade is overcrowded ; and besides, 
I thought you promised to consult me before 
going into business ? ' ' 

" Before buying one I thought you meant," 



192 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

said Dicky. ^' This was only on commission." 
And Father laughed again. I am glad we got 
the Castilian Amoroso, because it did really 
cheer Father up, and you cannot always do 
that, however hard you try, even if you make 
jokes, or give him a comic paper. 



CHAP TEE XI L 



14 ' 19^ 



CHAPTEE XII 

THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 

The part about his nobleness only comes at 
the end, but you would not understand it 
unless you knew how it began. It began, like 
nearly everything about that time, with 
treasure seeking. 

Of course as soon as we had promised to 
consult my Father about business matters we 
all gave up wanting to go into business. I 
don't know how it is, but having to consult 
about a thing with grown-up people, even the 
bravest and the best, seems to make the thing- 
no t worth doing afterwards. 

We don't mind Albert's uncle chipping in 
sometimes when the thing's going on, but we 
are glad he never asked us to promise to 
consult him about anything. Yet Oswald saw 
that my Father was quite right ; and I daresay 
if we had had that hundred pounds we should 

195 



196 THE TBEASURE SEEKERS 

have spent it on the share in that lucrative 
business for the sale of useful patent, and 
then found out afterwards that we should 
have done better to spend the money in some 
other way. My Father says so, and he ought 
to know. We had several ideas about that 
time, but having so little chink always stood 
in the way. This was the case with H. O.'s 
idea of setting up a cocoanut-shy on this side 
of the Heath, where there are none generally. 
We had no sticks or wooden balls, and the 
greengrocer said he could not book so many 
as twelve dozen cocoanuts without Mr. 
Bastable's written order. And as we did 
not wish to consult my Father it was decided 
to drop it. And when Alice dressed up 
Pincher in some of the doll's clothes and we 
made up our minds to take him round with 
an organ as soon as we had taught him to 
dance, we were stopped at once by Dicky's 
remembering how he had once heard that an 
organ cost seven hundred pounds. Of course 
this was the big church kind, but even the 
ones on three legs can't be got for one and 
sevenpence, which was all we had when we 
first thought of it. So we gave that up too. 

It was a wet day, I remember, and mutton 
hash for dinner — very tough with pale gravy 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 197 

with lumps in it. I think the others would 
have left a good deal on the sides of their 
plates, although they know better, only 
Oswald said it was a savoury stew made of 
the red deer that Edward shot. So then we 
were the Children of the New Forest, and the 
mutton tasted much better. No one in the 
New Forest minds venison being tough and 
the gravy pale. 

Then after dinner w^e let the girls have a 
dolls' tea-party, on condition they didn't 
expect us boys to wash up ; and it was when 
we were drinking the last of the liquorice 
water out of the little cups that Dicky said — 

" This reminds me." 

So we said, ''What of?" 

Dicky answered us at once, though his mouth 
was full of bread with liquorice stuck in it to 
look like cake. You should not speak with 
your mouth full, even to your own relations, 
and you shouldn't wipe your mouth on the 
back of your hand, but on your handkerchief, 
if you have one. Dicky did not do this. He 
said — 

"Why, you remember when we first began 
about treasure seeking, I said I had thought 
of something, only I could not tell you 
because I hadn't finished thinking about it." 



198 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

We said "Yes." 

" Well, this liquorice water " 

" Tea," said Alice softly. 

"Well, tea then — made me think." He 
was going on to say what it made him think, 
but Noel interrupted and cried out, " I say ; 
let's finish off this old tea-party and have a 
council of war." 

So we got out the flags and the wooden 
sword and the drum, and Oswald beat it 
while the girls washed up, till Eliza came up 
to say she had the jumping toothache, and 
the noise went through her like a knife. So 
of course Oswald left off at once. When you 
are polite to Oswald he never refuses to grant 
your requests. 

When we were all dressed up w^e sat down 
round the camp fire, and Dicky began again. 

"Every one in the world wants money. 
Some people get it. The people who get it 
are the ones who see things. I have seen one 
thing." 

Dicky stopped and smoked the pipe of 
peace. It is the pipe we did bubbles with in 
the summer, and somehow it has not got 
broken yet. We put tea-leaves in it for the 
pipe of peace, but the girls are not allowed 
to have any. It is not right to let girls 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 199 

smoke. They get to think too much of them- 
selves if you let them do everything the same 
as men. 

Oswald said, " Out with it." 

'' I see that glass bottles only cost a penny. 
H. 0., if you dare to snigger I'll send you 
round selling old bottles, and you shan't have 
any sweets except out of the money you get 
for them. And the same with you, Noel." 

" Noel wasn't sniggering," said Alice in a 
hurry; ''it is only his taking so much 
interest in what you were saying makes him 
look like that. Be quiet, H. 0., and don't you 
make faces, either. Do go on, Dicky dear." 

So Dicky went on. 

'' There must be hundreds of millions of 
bottles of medicines sold every year. Because 
all the different medicines say, ' Thousands 
of cures daily,' and if you only take that as 
two thousand, which it must be, at least, 
it mounts up. And the people who sell them 
must make a great deal of money by them 
because they are nearly always two and 
ninepence the bottle, and three and six for 
one nearly double the size. Now the bottles, 
as I was saying, don't cost anything like 
that." 

''It's the medicine costs the money," said 



200 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

Dora; "look how expensive jujubes are at 
the chemist's, and peppermints too." 

'' That's only because they're nice," Dicky 
explained ; '' nasty things are not so dear. 
Look what a lot of brimstone you get for a 
penny, and the same with alum. We would 
not put the nice kinds of chemist's things in 
our medicine." 

Then he went on to tell us that when we 
had invented our medicine we would write 
and tell the editor about it, and he would put 
it in the paper, and then people would send 
their two and ninepence and three and six 
for the bottle nearly double the size, and then 
when the medicine had cured them they 
would write to the paper and their letters 
would be printed, saying how they had been 
suffering for years, and never thought to get 
about again, but thanks to the blessing of 
our ointment 

Dora interrupted and said, " Not ointment 
— it's so messy." And Alice thought so too. 



And Dicky said he did not mean it, he was 
quite decided to let it be in bottles. So now 
it was all settled, and we did not see at the 
time that this would be a sort of going into 
business, but afterwards when Albert's uncle 
showed us we saw it, and we were sorry. We 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 201 

only had to invent the medicine. You might 
think that was easy, because of the number 
of them you see every day in the paper, but 
it is much harder than you think. First we 
had to decide what sort of ilhiess we should 
like to cure, and a " heated discussion en- 
sued," like in Parliament. 

Dora wanted it to be something to make 
the complexion of dazzling fairness, but we 
remembered how her face came all red and 
rough when she used the Kosabella soap, that 
was advertised to make the darkest complexion 
fair as the lily, and she agreed that perhaps 
it was better not. Noel wanted to make the 
medicine first and then find out what it 
would cure, but Dicky thought not, because 
there are so many more medicines than there 
are things the matter with us, so it would be 
easier to choose the disease first. 

Oswald would have liked wounds. I still 
think it was a good idea, but Dicky said, 
" Who has wounds, especially now there 
aren't any wars ? We shouldn't sell a bottle 
a day ! " So Oswald gave in because he 
knows what manners are, and it was Dicky's 
idea. H. 0. wanted a cure for the uncom- 
fortable feeling that they give you powders 
for, but we explained to him that grown-up 



202 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

people do not have this feeling, however 
much they eat, and he agreed. Dicky said 
he did not care a straw what the loathsome 
disease was, as long as we hurried up and 
settled on something. Then Alice said — 

"It ought to be something very common, 
and only one thing. Not the pains in the 
back and all the hundreds of things the people 
have in somebody's syrup. What's the com- 
monest thing of all ? " 

And at once we said, " Colds." 

So that was settled. 

Then we wrote a label to go on the bottle. 
When it was written it would not go on the 
vinegar bottle that we had got, but we knew 
it would go small when it was printed. It 
was like this : — 

Bastable's 

Certain Cure for Colds. 

Coughs, Asthma, Shortness of Breath, and all infections 

of the Chest. 

One dose gives immediate relief. 

It will cure your cold in one bottle. 

Especially the larger size at 3s. 6d. 

Order at once of the Makers. 

To prevent disappointment. 

Makers : 
D., 0., E., A., N., & H. O. Bastable, 
150, Lewisham Road, S.E. 

[A halfijcimy for all bottles returned.) 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 203 

Of course the next thing was for one of us 
to catch a cold and try what cured it ; we all 
wanted to be the one, but it was Dicky's idea, 
and he said he was not going to be done 
out of it, so we let him. It was only fair. 
He left off his undershirt that very day, and 
next morning he stood in a draught in his 
nightgown for quite a long time. And we 
damped his day-shirt with the nail-brush 
before he put it on. But all was vain. They 
always tell you that these things will give 
you cold, but we found it was not so. 

So then we all went over to the Park, and 
Dicky went right into the water with his 
boots on, and stood there as long as he could 
bear it, for it was rather cold, and we stood 
and cheered him on. He walked home in his 
wet clothes, which they say is a sure thing, 
but it was no go, though his boots were quite 
spoiled. And three days after Noel began to 
cough and sneeze. 
' So then Dicky said it was not fair. 

*' I can't help it," Noel said. " You should 
have caught it yourself, then it wouldn't have 
come to me." 

And Alice said she had known all along 
Noel oughtn't to have stood about on the 
bank cheering in the cold. 



204 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

Noel had to go to bed, and then we began 
to make the medicines ; we were sorry he was 
out of it, but he had the fun of taking the 
things. 

We made a great many medicines. AHce 
made herb tea. She got sage and thyme and 
savory and marjoram and boiled them all up 
together with salt and water, but she would 
put parsley in too. Oswald is sure parsley is 
not a herb. It is only put on the cold 
meat and you are not supposed to eat it. It 
kills parrots to eat parsley, I believe. I ex- 
pect it was the parsley that disagreed so with 
Noel. The medicine did not seem to do the 
cough any good. 

Oswald got a pennyworth of alum, because 
it is so cheap, and some turpentine which 
every one knows is good for colds, and a 
little sugar and an aniseed ball. These were 
mixed in a bottle with water, but Eliza threw 
it away and said it was nasty rubbish, and I 
hadn't any money to get more things with. 

Dora made him some gruel, and he said it did 
his chest good ; but of course that was no use, 
because you cannot put gruel in bottles and 
say it is medicine. It would not be honest, 
and besides nobody would believe you. 

Dick mixed up lemon-juice and sugar and a 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 205 

little of the juice of the red flannel that 
Noel's throat was done up in. It comes out 
beautifully in hot water. Noel took this and 
he liked it. Noel's own idea was liquorice- 
water, and we let him have it, but it is too 
plain and black to sell in bottles at the proper 
price. 

Noel liked H. O.'s medicine the best, which 
was silly of him, because it was only pepper- 
mints melted in hot water, and a little cobalt 
to make it look blue. It was all right, because 
H. O.'s paint-box is the French kind, with 
Couleurs non Veneneuses on it. This means 
you may suck your brushes if you want to, 
or even your paints if you are a very little 
boy. 

It was rather jolly while Noel had that cold. 
He had a fire in his bedroom which opens out 
of Dicky's and Oswald's, and the girls used to 
read aloud to Noel all day ; they will not read 
aloud to you when you are well. Father was 
away at Liverpool on business, and Albert's 
uncle was at Hastings. We were rather glad 
of this, because we wished to give all the 
medicines a fair trial, and grown-ups are but 
too fond of interfering. As if we should have 
given him anything poisonous ! 

His cold went on — it was bad in his head, 



206 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

but it was not one of the kind when he has to 
have poultices and can't sit up in bed. But 
when it had been in his head nearly a week, 
Oswald happened to tumble over Alice on the 
stairs. When we got up she was crying. 

" Don't cry, silly! " said Oswald ; "you know 
I didn't hurt you." I was very sorry if I had 
hurt her, but you ought not to sit on the stairs 
in the dark and let other people tumble over 
you. You ought to remember how beastly it 
is for them if they do hurt you. 

" Oh, it's not that, Oswald," Alice said. 
" Don't be a pig ! I am so miserable. Do be 
kind to me." 

So Oswald thumped her on the back and 
told her to shut up. 

" It's about Noel," she said. " I'm sure he's 
very ill ; and playing about with medicines is 
all very well, but I know he's ill, and Eliza 
won't send for the doctor : she says it's only a 
cold. And I know the doctor's bills are awful. 
I heard Father telling Aunt Emily so in the 
summer. But he is ill, and perhaps he'll die 
or something." 

Then she began to cry again. Oswald 
thumped her again, because he knows how a 
good brother ought to behave, and said, 
" Cheer up." If we had been in a book 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 207 

Oswald would have embraced his little sister 
tenderly, and mingled his tears with hers. 

Then Oswald said, "Why not write to 
Father ? " And she cried more and said, " I've 
lost the paper with the address. H. 0. had it 
to draw on the back of, and I can't find it now ; 
I've looked everywhere. I'll tell you what I'm 
going to do. No I won't. But I'm going 
out. Don't tell the others. And I say, 
Oswald, do pretend I'm in if Eliza asks. 
Promise." 

" Tell me what you're going to do," I said. 
But she said " No " ; and there was a good 
reason why not. So I said I wouldn't promise 
if it came to that. Of course I meant to all 
right. But it did seem mean of her not to tell 
me. 

So Alice went out by the side door while 
Eliza was setting tea, and she was a long time 
gone ; she was not in to tea. When Eliza asked 
Oswald where she was he said he did not 
know, but perhaps she was tidying her corner 
drawer. Girls often do this, and it takes a 
long time. Noel coughed a good bit after tea, 
and asked for Alice. Oswald told him she was 
doing something and it was a secret. Oswald 
did not tell any lies even to save his sister. 
When Alice came back she was very quiet, 



208 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

but she whispered to Oswald that it was all 
right. When it was rather late Eliza said 
she was going out to post a letter. This 
always takes her an hour, because she will go 
to the post-office across the Heath instead of 
the pillar-box, because once a boy dropped 
fusees in our pillar-box and burnt the letters. 
It was not any of us ; Eliza told us about it. 
And when there was a knock at the door a 
long time after we thought it was Eliza come 
back, and that she had forgotten the back-door 
key. We made H. 0. go down to open the door, 
because it is his place to run about : his legs 
are younger than ours. And we heard boots 
on the stairs besides H. O.'s, and we listened 
spell-bound till the door opened, and it was 
Albert's uncle. He looked very tired. 

"I am glad you've come," Oswald said. 
*' Alice began to think Noel " 

Alice stopped me, and her face was very 
red, her nose was shiny too, with having cried 
so much before tea. 

She said, "I only said I thought Noel 
ought to have the doctor. Don't you think he 
ought ? " She got hold of Albert's uncle and 
held on to him. 

" Let's have a look at you, young man," 
said Albert's uncle, and he sat down on the 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 209 

edge of the bed. It is a rather shaky bed, the 
bar that keeps it steady underneath got broken 
when we were playing burglars last winter. 
It was our crowbar. He began to feel Noel's 
pulse, and went on talking. 

^' It was revealed to the great Arab physi- 
cian as he made merry in his tents on the 
wild plains of Hastings that the Presence had 
a cold in its head. So he immediately seated 
himself on the magic carpet, and bade it bear 
him hither, only pausing in the flight to 
purchase a few sweetmeats in the bazaar." 

He pulled out a jolly lot of chocolate and 
some butter-scotch, and grapes for Noel. 
When we had all said thank you, he went 
on. 

" The physician's are the words of wisdom : 
it's high time this kid was asleep. I have 
spoken. Ye have my leave to depart." 

So we bunked, and Dora and Albert's uncle 
made Noel comfortable for the night. 

Then they came to the nursery which we 
had gone down to, and he sat down in the 
Guy Fawkes' chair and said, " Now then." 

Alice said, " You may tell them what I did. 
I daresay they'll all be in a wax, but I don't 
care." 

" I think you were very wise," said Albert's 

15 



210 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

uncle, pulling her close to him to sit on his 
knee. " I am very glad you telegraphed. 

So then Oswald understood what Alice's 
secret was. She had gone out and sent a 
telegram to Albert's uncle at Hastings. But 
Oswald thought she might have told him. 
Afterwards she told me what she had put in 
telegram. It was, '' Come home. We have 
given Noel a cold, and I think we are killing 
him." With the address it came to tenpence 
halfpenny. 

Then Albert's uncle began to ask questions, 
and it all came out, how Dicky had tried to 
catch the cold, but the cold had gone to Noel 
instead, and about the medicines and all. 
Albert's uncle looked very serious. 

^' Look here," he said, " you're old enough 
not to play the fool like this. Health is the 
best thing you've got ; you ought to know 
better than to risk it. You might have killed 
your little brother with your precious medi- 
cines. You've had a lucky escape, certainly. 
But poor Noel ! " 

^'Oh, do you think he's going to die?" 
Alice asked that, and she was crying again. 

*' No, no," said Albert's uncle, " but look 
here. Do you see how silly you've been ? And 
I thought you promised your Father " and 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 211 

then he gave us a long talking to. He can 
make you feel most awfully small. At last he 
stopped, and we said we were very sorry, and 
he said, " You know I promised to take you all 
to the pantomime ? " 

So we said, "Yes," and knew but too well 
that now he wasn't going to. Then he went 
on — 

" Well, I will take you if you like, or I will 
take Noel to the sea for a week to cure his 
cold. Which is it to be ? " 

Of course he knew we should say, " Take 
Noel," and we did ; but Dicky told me after- 
wards he thought it was hard on H. 0. 

Albert's uncle stayed till Eliza came in, 
and then he said good-night in a way that 
showed us that all was forgiven and forgotten. 

And we went to bed. It must have been 
the middle of the night when Oswald woke up 
suddenly, and there was Alice with her teeth 
chattering, shaking him to wake him. 

" Oh, Oswald ! " she said, " I am so 
unhappy. Suppose I should die in the 
night ! " 

Oswald told her to go to bed and not gas. 
But she said, "I must tell you; I wish I'd 
told Albert's uncle. I'm a thief, and if I die 
to night I know where thieves go to." 



212 THE TBEASVBE SEEKEBS 

So Oswald saw it was no good, and he sat 
up in bed and said — 
'' Go ahead." 
So Alice stood shivering and said — 



" I hadn't enough money for the telegram, 
so I took the bad sixpence out of the ex- 
chequer. And I paid for it with that and the 
fivepence I had. And I wouldn't tell you, 
because if you'd stopped me doing it I couldn't 
have borne it ; and if you'd helped me you'd 
have been a thief too. Oh, what shall I do ? " 

Oswald thought a minute, and then he 
said — 

'' You'd better have told me. But I think 
it will be all right if we pay it back. Go to 
bed. Cross with you ? No, stupid ! Only 
another time you'd better not keep secrets." 
So she kissed Oswald, and he let her, and she 
went back to bed. The next day Albert's 
uncle took Noel away, before Oswald had 
time to persuade Alice that we ought to tell 
him about the sixpence. Alice was very un- 
happy, but not so much as in the night : you 
can be very miserable in the night if you have 
done anything wrong and you happen to be 
awake. I know this for a fact. 

None of us had any money except Eliza, 
and she wouldn't give us any unless we said 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 213 

what for ; and of course we could not do that 
because of the honour of the family. And 
Oswald was anxious to get the sixpence to 
give to the telegraph people because he feared 
that the badness of that sixpence might have 
been found out, and that the police might 
come for Alice at any moment. I don't think 
I ever had such an unhappy day. Of course 
we could have written to Albert's uncle, but 
it would have taken a long time, and every 
moment of delay added to Alice's danger. 
We thought and thought, but we couldn't 
think of any way to get that sixpence. It 
seems a small sum, but you see Alice's liberty 
depended on it. It was quite late in the after- 
noon when I met Mrs. Leslie on the Parade. 
She had a brown fur coat and a lot of yellow 
flowers in her hands.' She stopped to speak to 
me, and asked me how the Poet was. I told 
her he had a cold, and I wondered whether 
she could lend me sixpence if I asked her, but 
I could not make up my mind how to begin to 
say it. It is a hard thing to say — much 
harder than you would think. She talked to 
me for a bit, and then she suddenly got into a 
cab, and said — 

*' I'd no idea it was so late," and told the 
man where to go. And just as she started she 



214 THE TBEA8UBE SEEKERS 

shoved the yellow flowers through the window 
and said, " For the sick poet, with my love," 
and was driven off. 

Gentle reader, I will not conceal from you 
what Oswald did. He knew all about not dis- 
gracing the family, and he did not like doing 
what I am going to say : and they were really 
Noel's flowers, only he could not have sent them 
to Hastings, and Oswald knew he would say 
" Yes " if Oswald asked him. Oswald sacrificed 
his family pride because of his little sister's 
danger. I do not say he was a noble boy — I 
just tell you what he did, and you can decide 
for yourself about the nobleness. 

He put on his oldest clothes — they're much 
older than any you would think he had if 
you saw him when he was tidy — and he took 
those yellow chrysanthemums and he walked 
with them to Greenwich Station and waited 
for the trains bringing people from London. 
He sold those flowers in penny bunches and 
got tenpence. Then he went to the telegraph 
office at Lewisham, and said to the lady there — 

" A little girl gave you a bad sixpence 
yesterday. Here are six good pennies." 

The lady said she had not noticed it, and 
never mind, but Osw^ald knew that " Honesty 
is the best Policy," and he refused to take 



THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD 215 

back the pennies. So at last she said she 
should put them in the plate on Sunday. She 
is a very nice lady. I like the way she does 
her hair. 

Then Oswald went home to Alice and told 
her, and she hugged him, and said he was a 
dear, good, kind boy, and he said "Oh, it's all 
right." 

We bought peppermint bullseyes with the 
fourpence I had over, and the others wanted 
to know where we got the money, but we 
would not tell. 

Only afterwards when Noel came home we 
told him, because they were his flowers, and 
he said it was quite right. He made some 
poetry about it. I only remember one bit 
of it. 

The noble youth of high degree 

Consents to play a menial part, 
All for his sister Alice's sake, 

Who was so dear to his faithful heart. 

But Oswald himself has never bragged 
about it. 

We got no treasure out of this, unless you 
count the peppermint bullseyes. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



217 



CHAPTEE XIII 

THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR 

A DAY or two after Noel came back from 
Hastings there was snow : it was jolly. 
And we cleared it off the path. A man 
to do it is sixpence at least, and you 
should always save when you can. A penny 
saved is a penny earned. And then we 
thought it would be nice to clear it off the 
top of the portico, where it lies so thick, 
and the edges as if they had been cut with 
a knife. And just as we had got out of the 
landing- window on to the portico, the Water 
Rates came up the path with his book that he 
tears the thing out of that says how much 
you have got to pay, and the little ink-bottle 
hung on to his button-hole in case you should 
pay him. Father says the Water Rates is a 
sensible man, and knows it is always well to 
be prepared for whatever happens, however 

219 



220 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

unlikely. Alice said afterwards that she 
rather liked the Water Bates, really, and 
Noel said he had a face like a good vizier, or 
the man who rewards the honest boy for 
restoring the purse, but we did not think 
about these things at the time, and as the 
Water Bates came up the steps, we shovelled 
down a great square slab of snow like an 
avalanche — and it fell right on his head. 
Two of us thought of it at the same moment, 
so it was quite a large avalanche. And when 
the Water Bates had shaken himself, he rang 
the bell. It was Saturday, and Father was at 
home. We know now that it is very wrong 
and ungentlemanly to shovel snow off porticoes 
on to the Water Bates, or any other person, 
and we hope he did not catch a cold, and we 
are very sorry. We apologised to the Water 
Bates when Father told us to. We were all 
sent to bed for it. 

We all deserved the punishment, because 
the others would have shovelled down snow 
just as we did if they'd thought of it — only 
they are not so quick at thinking of things as 
we are. And even quite wrong things some- 
times lead to adventures ; as every one knows 
who has ever read about pirates or highway- 
men. 



THE BOBBER AND THE BUBGLAB 221 

Eliza hates us to be sent to bed early, be- 
cause it means her having to bring meals up, 
and it means lighting the fire in Noel's room 
ever so much earlier than usual. He had to 
have a fire because he still had a bit of a cold. 
But this particular day we got Eliza into a 
good temper by giving her a horrid brooch 
with pretending amethysts in it, that an aunt 
once gave to Alice, so Eliza brought up an 
extra scuttle of coals ; and when the green- 
grocer came with the potatoes (he is always 
late on Saturdays) she got some chestnuts 
from him. So that when we heard Father go 
out after his dinner, there was a jolly fire in 
Noel's room, and we were able to go in and 
be Ked Indians in blankets most comfortably. 
Eliza had gone out ; she says she gets things 
cheaper on Saturday nights. She has a great 
friend, who sells fish at a shop, and he is very 
generous, and lets her have herrings for less 
than half the natural price. 

So we were all alone in the house ; Pincher 
was out with Eliza, and we talked about rob- 
bers. And Dora thought it would be a 
dreadful trade, but Dicky said — 

" I think it would be very interesting. iVnd 
you would only rob rich people, and be very 
generous to the poor and needy, like Claud 
Duval." 



222 THE TBEASUEE SEEKERS 

Dora said, "It is wrong to be a robber." 

" Yes," said Alice, " you would never know 
a happy hour. Think of trying to sleep with 
the stolen jewels under your bed, and remem- 
bering all the quantities of policemen and 
detectives that there are in the world! " 

" There are ways of being robbers that are 
not wrong," said Noel; "if you can rob a 
robber it is a right act." 

"But you can't," said Dora; "he is too 
clever, and besides, it's wrong anyway." 

" Yes you can, and it isn't ; and murdering 
him with boiling oil is a right act too, so 
there ! " said Noel. " What about Ali Baba ? 
Now then ! " And we felt it was a score for 
Noel. 

"What would you do if there tva^ a robber ? " 
said Alice. 

H. 0. said he would kill him with boiling 
oil ; but Alice explained that she meant a 
real robber — now — this minute — in the house. 

Oswald and Dicky did not say; but Noel 
said he thought it would only be fair to ask 
the robber quite politely and quietly to go 
away, and then if he didn't you could deal 
with him. 

Now what I am going to tell you is a very 
strange and wonderful thing, and I hope you 



THE BOBBER AND THE BUBGLAB 223 

will be able to believe it. I should not, if a 
boy told me, unless I knew him to be a man 
of honour, and perhaps not then unless he 
gave his sacred word. But it is true, all the 
same, and it only shows that the days of 
romance and daring deeds are not yet at an 
end. 

Alice was just asking Noel hoio he would 
deal with the robber who wouldn't go if he 
was asked politely and quietly, when we heard 
a noise downstairs — quite a plain noise, not 
the kind of noise you fancy you hear. It was 
like somebody moving a chair. We held our 
breath and listened — and then came another 
noise, like some one poking a lire. Now, you 
remember there was no one to poke a lire or 
move a chair downstairs, because Eliza and 
Father were both out. They could not have 
come in without our hearing them, because 
the front door is as hard to shut as the back 
one, and whichever you go in by you have to 
give a slam that you can hear all down the 
street. 

H. 0. and Alice and Dora caught hold of 
each other's blankets and looked at Dicky and 
Oswald, and every one was quite pale. And 
Noel whispered — 

"It's ghosts, I know it is" — and then we 



224 THE TEEASUBE SEEKERS 

listened again, but there was no more noise. 
Presently Dora said in a whisper — 

'' Whatever shall we do? Oh, whatever 
shall we do — what shall we do ? " 

And she kept on saying it till we had to 
tell her to shut up. 

reader, have you ever been playing Eed 
Indians in blankets round a bed-room fire in a 
house where you thought there was no one 
but you — and then suddenly heard a noise 
like a chair, and a fire being poked, down- 
stairs ? Unless you have you will not be able 
to imagine at all what it feels like. It was 
not like in books ; our hair did not stand on 
end at all, and we never said " Hist ! " once, 
but our feet got very cold, though we were in 
blankets by the fire, and the insides of 
Oswald's hands got warm and wet, and his 
nose was cold like a dog's, and his ears were 
burning hot. 

The girls said afterwards that they shivered 
with terror, and their teeth chattered, but we 
did not see or hear this at the time. 

'' Shall we open the window and call police ?" 
said Dora ; and then Oswald suddenly thought 
of something, and he breathed more freely 
and he said — 

"I I'noiu it's not ghosts, and I don't believe 



THE BOBBER AND THE BURGLAR 225 

it's robbers. I expect it's a stray cat got in 
when the coals came this morning, and she's 
been hiding in the cellar, and now she's 
moving about. Let's go down and see." 

The girls wouldn't, of course ; but I could 
see that they breathed more freely too. But 
Dicky said, " All right ; I will if you will." 

H. 0. said, "Do you think it's really a 
cat?" So we said he had better stay with 
the girls. And of course after that we had to 
let him and Alice both come. Dora said if 
we took Noel down with his cold, she would 
scream "Fire 1 " and " Murder ! " and she didn't 
mind if the whole street heard. 

So Noel agreed to be getting his clothes on, 
and the rest of us said we would go down and 
look for the cat. 

Now Oswald said that about the cat, and 
it made it easier to go down, but in his inside 
he did not feel at all sure that it might not be 
robbers after all. Of course, we had often 
talked about robbers before, but it is very 
different when you sit in a room and listen 
and listen and listen ; and Oswald felt some- 
how that it would be easier to go down and 
see what it was, than to wait, and listen, and 
wait, and wait, and listen, and wait, and then 
perhaps to hear It^ whatever it was, come 

16 



226 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

creeping slowly up the stairs as softly as It 
could with Its boots off, and the stairs creak- 
ing, towards the room where we were with the 
door open in case of Eliza coming back sud- 
denly, and all dark on the landings. And 
then it would have been just as bad, and it 
would have lasted longer, and you w^ould have 
known you were a coward besides. Dicky 
says he felt all these same things. Many 
people would say we were young heroes to go 
down as we did ; so I have tried to explain, 
because no young hero wishes to have more 
credit than he deserves. 

The landing gas was turned down low — 
just a blue bead — ^and we four went out very 
softly, wrapped in our blankets, and we stood 
on the top of the stairs a good long time 
before we began to go down. And we listened 
and listened till our ears buzzed. 

And Oswald whispered to Dicky, and Dicky 
went into our room and fetched the large toy 
pistol that is a foot long, and that has the 
trigger broken, and I took it because I am the 
eldest ; and I don't think either of us thought 
it was the cat now. But Alice and H.O. did. 
Dicky got the poker out of Noel's room, and 
told Dora it was to settle the cat with when 
we caught her. 



THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR 227 

Then Oswald whispered, " Let's play at 
burglars ; Dicky and I are armed to the 
teeth, we will go first. You keep a flight 
behind us, and be a reinforcement if we are 
attacked. Or you can retreat and defend the 
women and children in the fortress, if you'd 
rather." 

But they said they would be a reinforce- 
ment. 

Oswald's teeth chattered a little when he 
spoke. It is not with anything else except 
cold. 

So Dicky and Oswald crept down, and when 
we got to the bottom of the stairs, we saw 
Father's study-door just ajar, and the crack of 
light. And Oswald was so pleased to see the 
light, knowing that burglars prefer the dark, 
or at any rate the dark lantern, that he felt 
really sure it was the cat after all, and then 
he thought it would be fun to make the others 
upstairs think it was really a robber. So he 
cocked the pistol — you can cock it, but it 
doesn't go off — and he said, " Come on, 
Dick ! " and he rushed at the study door and 
burst into the room, crying, " Surrender ! you 
are discovered ! Surrender, or I fire ! Throw 
up your hands ! " 

And, as he finished saying it, he saw before 



228 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

him, standing on the study hearthrug, a Eeal 
Robber. There was no mistake about it : 
Oswald was sure it was a robber, because it 
had a screwdriver in its hands, and was 
standing near the cupboard door that H. O. 
broke the lock off, and there were gimlets and 
screws and things on the floor. There is 
nothing in that cupboard but old ledgers and 
magazines and the tool chest, but of course, 
a robber could not know that beforehand. 

When Oswald saw that there really was a 
robber, and that he was so heavily armed 
with the screwdriver, he did not feel com- 
fortable. But he kept the pistol pointed at 
the robber, and — you will hardly believe it, 
but it is true — the robber threw down the 
screwdriver clattering on the other tools, 
and he did throw up his hands, and said — 

" I surrender; don't shoot me ! How many 
of you are there ? " 

So Dicky said, "You are outnumbered. 
Are you armed? " 

And the robber said, " No, not in the 
least." 

And Oswald said, still pointing the pistol, 
and feeling very strong and brave and as if 
he was in a book, " Turn out your pockets." 

The robber did : and while he turned them 



THE BOBBER AND THE BURGLAR 229 

out, we looked at him. He was of the middle 
height, and clad in a black frock coat and 
grey trousers. His boots were a little gone 
at the sides, and his shirt-cuffs were a bit 
frayed, but otherwise he was of gentlemanly 
demeanour. He had a thin, wrinkled face, with 
big, light eyes that sparkled, and then looked 
soft very queerly, and a short beard. In his 
youth it must have been of a fair golden 
colour, but now it was tinged with grey. 
Oswald was sorry for him, especially when he 
saw that one of his pockets had a large hole 
in it, and that he had nothing in his pockets 
but letters and string and three boxes of 
matches, and a pipe and a handkerchief and 
a thin tobacco pouch and two pennies. We 
made him put all the things on the table, and 
then he said — 

"Well, you've caught me; what are you 
going to do with me? Police?" 

Alice and H. 0. had come down to be 
reinforcements, w^hen they heard a shout, and 
when Alice saw that it was a Eeal Eobber, 
and that he had surrendered, she clapped her 
hands and said, "Bravo, boys! " and so did 
H. 0. And now she said, "If he gives his 
word of honour not to escape, I shouldn't call 
the police : it seems a pity. Wait till Father 
comes home." 



230 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

The robber agreed to this, and gave his 
word of honour, and asked if he might put on a 
pipe, and we said "Yes," and he sat in Father's 
armchair and warmed his boots, which 
steamed, and I sent H. 0. and AHce to put 
on some clothes and tell the others, and bring 
down Dicky's and my knickerbockers, and the 
rest of the chestnuts. 

And they all came, and we sat round the 
fire, and it was jolly. The robber was very 
friendly, and talked to us a great deal. 

" I wasn't always in this low way of 
business," he said, when Noel said something 
about the things he had turned out of his 
pockets. "It's a great come down to a man 
like me. But, if I must be caught, it's some- 
thing to be caught by brave young heroes like 
you. My stars ! How you did bolt into the 
room, — ' Surrender, and up with your hands ! ' 
You might have been born and bred to the 
thief-catching." 

Oswald is sorry if it was mean, but he 
could not own up just then that he did not 
think there was any one in the stud}^ when 
he did that brave if rash act. He has told 
since. 

' ' And what made you think there was any 
one in the house ? " the robber asked, when 



THE BOBBEB AND THE BUBGLAB 231 

he had thrown his head back, and laughed 
for quite half a minute. So we told him. 
And he applauded our valour, and Alice and 
H. 0. explained that they would have said 
^' Surrender," too, only they were reinforce- 
ments. 

The robber ate some of the chestnuts — and 
we sat and wondered when Father would come 
home, and what he would say to us for our 
intrepid conduct. And the robber told us of 
all the things he had done before he began to 
break into houses. Dicky picked up the tools 
from the floor, and suddenly he said — 

" Why, this is Father's screwdriver and his 
gimlets, and all ! Well, I do call it jolly 
cheek to pick a man's locks with his own 
tools!" 

''True, true," said the robber. "It is 
cheek, of the jolliest ! but you see I've come 
down in the world. I was a highway robber 
once, but horses are so expensive to hire — 
five shillings an hour, you know — and ] 
couldn't afford to keep them. The highway- 
man business isn't what it was." 

" What about a bike ? " said H. 0. 

But the robber thought cycles were low — 
and besides you couldn't go across country 
with them when occasion arose, as you could 



232 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

with a trusty steed. And he talked of high- 
waymen as if he knew just how we Hked 
hearing it. 

Then he told us how he had been a pirate 
captain — and how he had sailed over waves 
mountains high, and gained rich prizes — and 
how he did begin to think that here he had 
found a profession to his mind. 

*^ I don't say there are no ups and downs 
in it," he said, "especially in stormy weather. 
But what a trade ! And a sword at your 
side, and the Jolly Eoger flying at the peak, 
and a prize in sight. And all the black 
mouths of your guns pointed at the laden 
trader — and the wind in your favour, and 
your trusty crew ready to live and die for you ! 
Oh — but it's a grand life ! " 

I did feel so sorry for him. He used such 
nice words, and he had a gentleman's 
voice. 

" I'm sure you weren't brought up to be a 
pirate," said Dora. She had dressed even to 
her collar — and made Noel do it too — but the 
rest of us were in blankets with just a few odd 
things put on anyhow underneath. 

The robber frowned and sighed. 

*^No," he said, ''I was brought up to the 
law. I was at Balliol, bless your hearts, and 



THE ROBBEB AND THE BUBGLAB 233 

that's true anyway." He sighed again, and 
looked hard at the fire. 

"That was my Father's college," H. 0. 
was beginning, but Dicky said — 

" Why did you leave off being a pirate ? " 

'' A pirate ? " he said, as if he had not been 
thinking of such things. "Oh, yes; Avhy I 
gave it up because — because I could not get 
over the dreadful sea-sickness." 

"Nelson was sea-sick," said Oswald. 

"Ah," said the robber ; "but I hadn't his 
luck or his pluck, or something. He stuck 
to it and won Trafalgar, didn't he ? 'Kiss me, 
Hardy ' — and all that, eh ? I couldn't stick 
to it — I had to resign. And nobody kissed 
me.'" 

I saw^ by his understanding about Nelson 
that he w^as really a man who had been to a 
good school as well as to Balliol. 

Then we asked him, " And what did you do 
then?" 

And Alice asked if he was ever a coiner, 
and we told him how we had thought we'd 
caught the desperate gang next door, and he 
was very much interested and said he was 
glad he had never taken to coining. "Besides, 
the coins are so ugly nowadays," he said, 
"no one could really find any pleasure in 



234 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

making them. And it's a hole and corner 
business at the best, isn't it ? and it must be 
a very thirsty one — with the hot metal and 
furnaces and things." 

And again he looked at the fire. 

Oswald forgot for a minute that the in- 
teresting stranger was a robber, and asked 
him if he wouldn't have a drink. Oswald has 
heard Father do this to his friends, so he 
knows it is the right thing. The robber 
said he didn't mind if he did. And that is 
right, too. 

And Dora went and got a bottle of 
Father's ale — the Light Sparkling Family — 
and a glass, and we gave it to the robber. 
Dora said she would be responsible. 

Then when he had had a drink he told us 
about bandits, but he said it was so bad in 
wet weather. Bandits' caves were hardly ever 
properly weather-tight. And bush-ranging 
was the same. 

" As a matter of fact," he said, "I was 
bush-ranging this afternoon, among the furze- 
bushes on the Heath, but I had no luck. I 
stopped the Lord Mayor in his gilt coach, 
with all his footmen in plush and gold lace, 
smart as cockatoos. But it was no go. The 
Lord Mayor hadn't a stiver in his pockets. 



THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR 235 

One of the footmen had six new pennies : the 
Lord Mayor always pays his servants' wages 
in new pennies. I spent fourpence of that in 
bread and cheese, that on the table's the 
tuppence. Ah, it's a poor trade ! " And then 
he filled his pipe again. 

We had turned out the gas, so that Father 
should have a jolly good surprise when he did 
come home, and we sat and talked as pleasant 
as could be. I never liked a new man better 
than I liked that robber. And I felt so sorry 
for him. He told us he had been a war- 
correspondent and an editor, in happier days, 
as well as a horse-stealer and a colonel of 
dragoons. 

And quite suddenly, just as we were telling 
him about Lord Tottenham and our being- 
highwaymen ourselves, he put up his hand 
and said " Shish ! " and we were quiet and 
listened. 

There was a scrape, scrape, scraping noise ; 
it came from downstairs. 

'^They're filing something," whispered the 
robber, " here — shut up, give me that pistol, 
and the poker. There is a burglar now, and 
no mistake." 

^* It's only a toy one and it won't go off," I 
said, " but you can cock it." 



236 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

Then we heard a snap. 

"There goes the wmdow bar," said the 
robber softly. "Jove! what an adventure! 
You kids stay here, I'll tackle it." 

But Dicky and I said we should come. So 
he let us go as far as the bottom of the 
kitchen stairs, and we took the tongs and 
shovel with us. There was a light in the 
kitchen ; a very little light. It is curious we 
never thought, any of us, that this might be a 
plant of our robber's to get away. We never 
thought of doubting his word of honour. And 
we were right. 

That noble robber dashed the kitchen door 
open, and rushed in with the big toy pistol in 
one hand and the poker in the other, shouting 
out just like Oswald had done — 

"Surrender! You are discovered! Sur- 
render, or I'll fire ! Throw up your hands ! " 
And Dicky and I rattled the tongs and shovel 
so that he might know there were more of us, 
all bristling with weapons. 

And we heard a husky voice in the kitchen 
saying — 

" All right, governor ! Stow that scent 
sprinkler. I'll give in. Blowed if I ain't 
pretty well sick of the job, anyway." 

Then we went in. Our robber was standing 



THE BOBBEB AND THE BUBGLAB 237 

in the grandest manner with his legs very 
wide apart, and the pistol pointing at the 
cowering burglar. The burglar was a large man 
who did not mean to have a beard, I think, but 
he had got some of one, and a red comforter, and 
a fur cap, and his face was red and his voice 
was thick. How different from our own rob- 
ber ! The burglar had a dark lantern, and he 
was standing by the plate-basket. When we 
had lit the gas we all thought he was very like 
what a burglar ought to be. He did not look 
as if he could ever have been a pirate or a 
highwayman, or anything really dashing or 
noble, and he scowled and shuffled his feet 
and said: '' Well, go on; why don't yer fetch 
the pleece ? " 

''Upon my word, I don't know," said our 
robber, rubbing his chin, " Oswald, why don't 
we fetch the police ? " 

It is not every robber that I would stand 
Christian names from, I can tell you ; but just 
then I didn't think of that. I just said — 

'' Do you mean I'm to fetch one ? " 

Our robber looked at the burglar and said 
nothing. 

Then the burglar began to speak very fast, 
and to look different ways with his hard, shiny 
little eyes. 



238 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

" Lookee 'ere, governor," he said, ^' I was 
stony broke, so help me, I was. And blessed 
if I've nicked a haporth of your little lot. 
You know yourself there ain't much to tempt 
a bloke,*' he shook the plate-basket as if he 
was angry with it, and the yellowy spoons and 
forks rattled. ''I was just a-looking through 
this 'ere Bank-ollerday show, when you come. 
Let me off, sir. Come now, I've got kids of 
my own at home, strike me if I ain't — same 
as yours — I've got a nipper just about 'is size, 
and what '11 come of them if I'm lagged ? I 
ain't been in it long, sir, and I ain't 'andy 
at it." 

" No," said our robber ; " you certainly are 
not." 

Alice and the others had come down by 
now to see what was happening. Alice told 
me afterwards they thought it really was the 
cat this time. 

" No, I ain't 'andy, as you say, sir, and if 
you let me off this once I'll chuck the whole 
blooming bizz ; take my civvy, I will. Don't 
be hard on a cove, mister ; think of the missis 
and the kids. I've got one just the cut of 
little missy there ; bless 'er pretty 'eart." 

'* Your family certainly fits your circum- 
stances very nicely," said our robber. 



THE EOBBEB AND THE BUBGLAB 239 

Then Alice said — 

^' Oh, do let him go ! If he's got a little 
girl like me, whatever will she do ? Suppose 
it was Father ! " 

^' I don't think he's got a little girl like you, 
my dear," said our robber, '' and I think he'll 
be safer under lock and key." 

'^ You ask yer Father to let me go, miss," 
said the burglar, " 'e won't 'ave the 'art to 
refuse you." 

''If I do," said Alice, "will you promise 
never to come back ? " 

" Not me, miss," the burglar said very 
earnestly, and he looked at the plate-basket 
again, as if that alone would be enough to 
keep him away, our robber said afterwards. 

"And will you be good and not rob any 
more ? " said Alice. 

" I'll turn over a noo leaf, miss, so help me." 

Then Alice said — 

"Oh, do let him go! I'm sure he'll be 
good." 

But our robber said no, it wouldn't be right ; 
we must wait till Father came home. 

Then H. 0. said, very suddenly and 
plainly — 

"I don't think it's at all fair, when j^ou're 
a robber yourself." 



240 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

The minute he'd said it the burglar said, 
"Kidded, by gum!" — and then our robber 
made a step towards him to catch hold of him, 
and before you had time to think "Hullo!" 
the burglar knocked the pistol up with one 
hand and knocked our robber down with the 
other, and was off out of the window like a 
shot, though Oswald and Dicky did try to stop 
him by holding on to his legs. 

And that burglar had the cheek to put his 
head in at the window and say, "I'll give yer 
love to the kids and the missis " — and he was 
off like winking, and there were Alice and 
Dora trying to pick up our robber, and asking 
him whether he was hurt, and where. He 
wasn't hurt at all, except a lump at the back 
of his head. And he got up, and we dusted 
the kitchen floor off him. Eliza is a dirty 
girl. 

Then he said, "Let's put up the shutters. 
It never rains but it pours. Now you've had 
two burglars I daresay you'll have twenty." 
So we put up the shutters, which Eliza has 
strict orders to do before she goes out, only 
she never does, and we v^ent back to Father's 
study, and the robber said, " What a night we 
are having!" and put his boots back in the 
fender to go on steaming, and then we all 



THE BOBBER AND THE BURGLAR 241 

talked at once. It was the most wonderful 
adventure we ever had, though it wasn't 
treasure-seeking — at least not ours. I suppose 
it was the burglar's treasure-seeking, but he 
didn't get much — and our robber said he didn't 
believe a word about those kids that were so 
like Alice and me. 

And then there was the click of the gate, 
and we said, "Here's Father," and the robber 
said, " And now for the police." 

Then we all jumped up. We did like him 
so much, and it seemed so unfair that he 
should be sent to prison, and the horrid, 
lumping big burglar not. 

And Alice said, "Oh, no — run! Dicky will 
let you out at the back door. Oh, do go, go 
now.'" 

And we all said, " Yes, ^o," and pulled him 
towards the door, and gave him his hat and 
stick and the things out of his pockets. 

But Father's latchkey was in the door, and 
it was too late. 

Father came in quickly, purring with the 
cold, and began to say, "It's all right, Foulkes, 

I've got " and then he stopped short and 

stared at us. Then he said, in the voice we 
all hate, " Children, what is the meaning of 
all this?" 

17 



242 THE TREASUBE SEEKERS 

And for a minute nobody spoke. 

Then my Father said, ^^Foulkes, I must 
really apologise for these very naughty " 

And then our robber rubbed his hands and 
laughed, and cried out: ''You're mistaken, 
my dear sir, I'm not Foulkes ; I'm a robber, 
captured by these young people in the most 
gallant manner. ' Hands up, surrender, or I 
fire,' and all the rest of it. My word, Bastable, 
but you've got some kids worth having ! I 
wish my Denny had their pluck." 

Then we began to understand, and it was 
like being knocked down, it was so sudden. 
And our robber told us he wasn't a robber 
after all. He was only an old college friend 
of my Father's, and he had come after dinner, 
when Father was just trying to mend the lock 
H. 0. had broken, to ask Father to get him a 
letter to a doctor about his little boy Denny, 
who was ill. . And Father had gone over the 
Heath to Yanbrugh Park to see some rich 
people he knows and get the letter. And he 
had left Mr. Foulkes to wait till he came back, 
because it was important to know at once 
whether Father could get the letter, and if he 
couldn't Mr. Foulkes would have had to try 
some one else directly. 

We were dumb with amazement. 



THE BOBBER AND THE BURGLAR 243 

Our robber told my Father about the other 
burglar, and said he was sorry he'd let him 
escape, but my Father said, " Oh, it's all right : 
poor beggar ; if he really had kids at home : 
you never can tell — forgive us our debts, don't 
you know ; but tell me about the first business. 
It must have been moderately entertaining." 

Then our robber told my Father how I had 
rushed into the room with a pistol, crying out 
. . . but you know all about that. And he 
laid it on so thick and fat about plucky young 
uns, and chips of old blocks, and things like 
that, that I felt I was purple with shame, even 
under the blanket. So I swallowed that thing 
that tries to prevent you speaking when you 
ought to, and I said, " Look here, Father, I 
didn't really think there w^as any one in the 
study. We thought it was a cat at first, and 
then I thought there was no one there, and I 
was just larking. x\nd when I said surrender 
and all that, it was just the game, don't you 
know?" 

Then our robber said, "Yes, old chap ; but 
when you found there really luas some one 
there, you dropped the pistol and bunked, 
didn't you, eh ? " 

And I said, "No; T thought, 'Hullo! 
here's a robber ! Well, it's all up, I suppose, 



244 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

but I may as well hold on and see what 
happens.' " 

And I was glad I'd owned up, for Father 
slapped me on the back, and said I was a 
young brick, and our robber said I was no 
funk anyway, and though I got very hot under 
the blanket I liked it, and I explained that 
the others w^ould have done the same if they 
had thought of it. 

Then Father got up some more beer, and 
laughed about Dora's responsibility, and he 
got out a box of figs he had bought for us, 
only he hadn't given it to us because of the 
Water Kates, and Eliza came in and brought 
up the bread and cheese, and what there was 
left of the neck of mutton — cold wreck of 
mutton. Father called it — and we had a feast 
— like a picnic — all sitting anywhere, and 
eating with our fingers. It was prime. We 
sat up till past twelve o'clock, and I never 
felt so pleased to think I was not born a girl. 
It was hard on the others ; they would have 
done just the same if they'd thought of it. 
But it does make you feel jolly when your 
pater says you're a young brick ! 

When Mr. Foulkes was going, he said to 
Alice, *' Good-bye, Hardy." 

And Alice understood, of course, and kissed 
him as hard as she could. 



THE BOBBER AND THE BTJBGLAR 245 

And she said, " I wanted to, when you 
said no one kissed you when you left off being 
a pirate captain." 

And he said, " I know you did, my dear." 

And Dora kissed him too, and said, " I 
suppose none of these tales were true?" 

And our robber just said, "I tried to play 
the part properly, my dear." 

And he jolly well did play it, and no mis- 
take. We have often seen him since, and his 
boy Denny, and his girl Daisy, but that comes 
in another story. 

And if any of you kids who read this ever 
had two such adventures in one night you 
can just write and tell me. That's all. 



CHAPTEB XIV, 



247 



CHAPTER XIY 



THE DIVINING-ROD 



You have no idea how uncomfortable the 
house was on the day when we sought for 
gold with the divining-rod. It was like a 
spring-cleaning in the winter time. All the 
carpets were up, because Father had told Eliza 
to make the place decent as there was a 
gentleman coming to dinner the next day. 
So she got in a charwoman, and they slopped 
water about, and left brooms and brushes 
on the stairs for people to tumble over. H. 0. 
got a big bump on his head in that way, and 
when he said it was too bad, Eliza said he 
should keep in the nursery then, and not be 
where he'd no business. We bandaged his 
head with a towel, and then he stopped 
crying and played at being England's 
wounded hero dying in the cockpit, while 
every man was doing his duty, as the hero 



249 



250 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

had told them to, and Alice was Hardy, and 
I was the doctor, and the others were the 
crew. Playing at Hardy made us think of 
our own dear robber, and we wished he was 
there, and wondered if we should ever see 
him any more. 

We were rather astonished at Father's 
having any one to dinner, because now he 
never seems to think of anything but busi- 
ness. Before Mother died people often came 
to dinner, and Father's business did not take 
up so much of his time and was not the 
bother it is now. And we used to see who 
could go furthest down in our nightgowns and 
get nice things to eat, without being seen, out 
of the dishes as they came out of the dining- 
room. Eliza can't cook very nice things. 
She told Father she was a good plain cook, 
but he says it was a fancy portrait. We 
stayed in the nursery till the charwoman came 
in and told us to be off — she was going to 
make one job of it, and have our carpet up 
as well as all the others, now the man was 
here to beat them. It came up, and it was very 
dusty — and under it we found my threepennj^ 
bit that I lost ages ago, which shows what 
Eliza is. H. 0. had got tired of being the 
wounded hero, and Dicky was so tired of 



THE DIVINING-BOD 251 

doing nothing that Dora said she knew he'd 
begin to tease Noel in a minute ; then of 
course Dicky said he wasn't going to tease 
anybody — he was going out to the Heath. 
He said he'd heard that nagging women drove 
a man from his home, and now he found it 
was quite true. Oswald always tries to be 
a peace-maker, so he told Dicky to shut up 
and not make an ass of himself. And Alice 

said, "Well, Dora began " and Dora tossed 

her chin up and said it wasn't any business 
of Oswald's any way, and no one asked 
Alice's opinion. So we all felt very uncom- 
fortable till Noel said, " Don't let's quarrel 
about nothing. You know let dogs delight — 
and I made up another piece while you were 
talking — 

Quarrelling is an evil thing, 

It fills with gall life's cup ; 

For when once you begin 

It takes such a long time to make it up." 

We all laughed then and stopped jawing 
at each other. Noel is very funny with his 
poetry. But that piece happened to come out 
quite true. You begin to quarrel and then you 
can't stop ; often, long before the others are 
ready to cry and make it up, I see how silly 



252 THE TREASUBE SEEKEBS 

it is, and I want to laugh ; but it doesn't do 
to say so — for it only makes the others crosser 
than they were before. I wonder why that is? 

Alice said Noel ought to be poet laureate, 
and she actually went out in the cold and got 
some laurel leaves — the spotted kind — out of 
the garden, and Dora made a crown and we 
put it on him. He was quite pleased ; but 
the leaves made a mess, and Eliza said, 
"Don't." I believe that's a word grown-ups 
use more than any other. Then suddenly 
Alice thought of that old idea of hers for 
finding treasure, and she said — 

" Do let's try the divining-rod." 

So Oswald said, " Fair priestess, we do 
greatly desire to find gold beneath our land, 
therefore we pray thee practise with the 
divining-rod, and tell us where we can 
find it." 

"Do ye desire to fashion of it helms and 
hauberks ? " said Alice. 

" Yes," said Noel ; " and chains and 
ouches." 

" I bet you don't know what an ' ouch ' is," 
said Dicky. 

" Yes I do, so there ! " said Noel. " It's a 
carcanet. I looked it out in the dicker, now 
then ! " 



THE DIVINING-ROD 253 

We asked him what a carcanet was, but he 
wouldn't say. 

"And we want to make fair goblets of the 
gold," said Oswald. 

"Yes, to drink cocoanut milk out of," said 
H. 0. 

" And we desire to build fair palaces of it," 
said Dicky. 

" x\nd to buy things," said Dora — "a 
great many things. New Sunday frocks 
and hats and kid gloves and " 

She would have gone on for ever so long 
only we reminded her that we hadn't found 
the gold yet. 

By this Alice had put on the nursery table- 
cloth, which is green, and tied the old blue 
and yellow antimaccassar over her head, and 
she said — 

" If your intentions are correct, fear nothing 
and follow me." 

And she went down into the hall. We all 
followed chanting " Heroes." It is a gloomy 
thing the girls learnt at the High School, and 
we always use it when we want a priestly 
chant. 

Alice stopped short by the hat-stand, and 
held up her hands as well as she could for the 
table-cloth, and said — 



264 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

** Now, great altar of the golden idol, yield 
me the divining-rod that I may use it for the 
good of the suffering people." 

The umbrella-stand was the altar of the 
golden idol, and it yielded her the old school 
umbrella. She carried it between her palms. 

'' Now," she said, " I shall sing the magic 
chant. You mustn't say anything, but just 
follow wherever I go — like follow my leader, 
you know — and when there is gold under- 
neath the magic rod will twist in the hand 
of the priestess like a live thing that seeks 
to be free. Then you will dig, and the golden 
treasure will be revealed. H. 0., if you make 
that clatter with your boots they'll come and 
tell us not to. Now come on all of you." 

So she went upstairs and down and into 
every room. We followed her on tiptoe, and 
Alice sang as she went. What she sang is 
not out of a book — Noel made it up while she 
was dressing up for the priestess. 

Ashen rod cold 
That here I hold, 
Teach rae where to find the gold. 

When we came to where Eliza was, she said, 
*' Get along with you ; " but Dora said it was 
only a game, and we wouldn't touch anything, 



THE DIVINING-BOD 265 

and our boots were quite clean, and Eliza 
might as well let us. So she did. 

It was all right for the priestess, but it was 
a little dull for the rest of us, because she 
wouldn't let us sing too ; so we said we'd 
had enough of it, and if she couldn't find 
the gold we'd leave off and play something- 
else. The priestess said, "All right, wait a 
minute," and went on singing. Then we all 
followed her back into the nursery where the 
carpet was up and the boards smelt of soft 
soap. Then she said, " It moves, it moves ! 
Once more the choral hymn ! " So we sang 
"Heroes" again, and in the middle the 
umbrella dropped from her hands. 

" The magic rod has spoken," said Alice ; 
" dig here, and that with courage and des- 
patch." We didn't quite see how to dig, 
but we all began to scratch on the Hoor 
with our hands, but the priestess said, 
" Don't be so silly ! It's the place where they 
come to do the gas. The board's loose. 
Dig an you value your lives, for ere sun- 
down the dragon who guards this spoil will 
return in his fiery fury and make you his 
unresisting prey." 

So we dug — that is, we got the loose board 
up. And Alice threw up her arms and cried — 



256 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

'' See the rich treasure — the gold in thick 
layers, with silver and diamonds stuck in 
it!" 

*'Like currants in cake," said H. 0. 

**It's a lovely treasure," said Dicky yawn- 
ing. "' Let's come back and carry it away 
another day." 

But Alice was kneeling by the hole. 

"Let me feast my eyes on the golden 
splendour," she said, " hidden these long 
centuries from the human eye. Behold how 
the magic rod has led us to treasures more — 
Oswald, don't push so ! — more bright than ever 

monarch I say, there is something down 

there, really. I saw it shine ! " 

We thought she was kidding, but when she 
began to try to get into the hole, which was 
much too small, we saw she meant it, so I 
said, "Let's have a squint," and I looked, but I 
couldn't see anything, even when I lay down 
on my stomach. The others lay down on 
their stomachs too and tried to see, all but 
Noel, who stood and looked at us and said we 
were the great serpents come down to drink at 
the magic pool. He wanted to be the knight 
and slay the great serpents with his good 
sword — he even drew the umbrella ready, but 
Alice said, " AJl right, we will in a minute. 



THE DIVINING-ROD 257 

But now — I'm sure I saw it ; do get a match, 
Noel, there's a dear." 

"What did you see?" asked Noel, begin- 
ning to go for the matches very slowly. 

" Something bright, away in the corner 
under the board against the beam." 

" Perhaps it was a rat's eye," Noel said, 
" or a snake's," and we did not put our heads 
quite so close to the hole till he came back 
with the matches. 

Then I struck a match, and Alice cried, 
'' There it is ! " 

And there it was, and it was a half- 
sovereign, partly dusty and partly bright. 
We think perhaps a mouse, disturbed by the 
carpets being taken up, may have brushed the 
dust of years from part of the half-sovereign 
with his tail. We can't imagine how it came 
there, only Dora thinks she remembers once 
when H. 0. was very little Mother gave him 
some money to hold, and he dropped it, and 
it rolled all over the floor. So we think 
perhaps this was part of it. We were very 
glad. H. 0. wanted to go out at once and buy 
a mask he had seen for fourpence. It had 
been a shilling mask, but now it was going 
very cheap because Guy Fawkes' day was 
over, and it was a little cracked at the top. 

18 ' 



258 THE TEE A SURE SEEKERS 

But Dora said, ''I don't know that it's our 
money. Let's wait and ask Father." 

But H. 0. did not care about waiting, and 
I felt for him. Dora is rather Hke grown-ups 
in that way ; she does not seem to understand 
that when you want a thing you do want it, 
and that you don't wish to wait, even a 
minute. 

So we went and asked Albert-next-door's 
uncle. He was pegging away at one of the 
rotten novels he has to write to make his 
living, but he said we weren't interrupting 
him at all. 

'' My hero's folly has involved him in a 
difficulty," he said. "It is his own fault. I 
will leave him to meditate on the incredible 
fatuity — the hare-brained recklessness — which 
have brought him to this pass. It will be a 
lesson to him. I, meantime, will give myself 
unreservedly to the pleasures of your conver- 
satiouc" 

That's one thing I like Albert's uncle for. 
He always talks like a book, and yet you can 
always understand what he means. I think 
he is more like us, inside of his mind, than most 
grown-up people are. He can pretend beauti- 
fully. I never met any one else so good at it, 
except our robber, and we began it, with him. 




o 



-oo 



tc 



CD 



THE DIVINING-ROD 259 

But it was Albert's uncle who first taught us 
how to make people talk like books when 
you're playing things, and he made us learn 
to tell a story straight from the beginning, not 
starting in the middle like most people do. 
So now Oswald remembered what he had been 
told, as he generally does, and began at the 
beginning, but when he came to where Alice 
said she was the priestess, Albert's uncle 
said — 

" Let the priestess herself set forth the tale 
in fitting speech." 

So Alice said, " high priest of the 
great idol, the humblest of thy slaves took the 
school umbrella for a divining-rod, and sang 
the song of inver — what's-it's-name ? " 

'^ Invocation perhaps ? " said Albert's uncle. 

^'Yes; and then I went about and about 
and the others got tired, so the divining-rod 
fell on a certain spot, and I said, ' Dig,' and 
we dug — it was where the loose board is for 
the gas men — and then there really and truly 
was a half-sovereign lying under the boards, 
and here it is." 

Albert's uncle took it and looked at it. 

^' The great high priest will bite it to see if 
it's good," he said, and he did. " I congratu- 
late you," he went on; "you are indeed 



260 THE TBEA8UBE SEEKERS 

among those favoured by the Immortals. 
First you find half-crowns in the garden, and 
now this. The high priest advises you to tell 
your Father, and ask if you may keep it. 
My hero has become penitent, but impatient. 
I must pull him out of this scrape. Ye have 
my leave to depart." 

Of course we know from Kipling that that 
means, "You'd better bunk, and be sharp 
about it," so we came away. I do like 
Albert's uncle. I shall be like that when I'm 
a man. He gave us our Jungle books, and he 
is awfully clever, though he does have to write 
grown-up tales. 

We told Father about it that night. He 
was very kind. He said we might certainly 
have the half-sovereign, and he hoped we 
should enjoy ourselves with our treasure- 
trove. 

Then he said, "Your dear Mother's Indian 
Uncle is coming to dinner here to-morrow 
night. So will you not drag the furniture 
about overhead, please, more than you're 
absolutely obliged; and H. 0. might wear 
slippers or something. I can always distin- 
guish the note of H. O.'s boots." 

We said we would be very quiet, and Father 
went on — 



THE DIVINING-ROD 261 

" This Indian Uncle is not used to children, 
and he is coming to talk business with me. It 
is really rather important that he should be 
quiet. Do you think, Dora, that perhaps bed 
at six for H. 0. and Noel " 

But H. 0. said, " Father, I really and truly 
won't make a noise. I'll stand on my head all 
the evening sooner than disturb the Indian 
Uncle with my boots." 

And Alice said Noel never made a row 
anyhow. 

So Father laughed and said, " All right." 
And he said we might do as we liked with the 
half-sovereign. " Only for goodness' sake don't 
try to go in for business with it," he said. " It's 
always a mistake to go into business with an 
insufficient capital." 

We talked it over all that evening, and we 
decided that as we were not to go into busi- 
ness with our half-sovereign it was no use not 
spending it at once, and so we might as well 
have a right royal feast. The next day we 
went out and bought the things. We got figs, 
and almonds and raisins, and a real raw rabbit, 
and Eliza promised to cook it for us if we 
would wait till to-morrow, because of the Indian 
Uncle coming to dinner. She was very busy 
cooking nice things for him to eat. We got 



262 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEB8 

the rabbit because we are so tired of beef 
and mutton, and Father hasn't a bill at the 
poultry shop. And we got some flowers to go 
on the dinner-table for Father's party. And 
we got hardbake and raspberry noyau and 
peppermint rock and oranges and a cocoanut 
with other nice things. We put it all in the 
top long drawer. It is H. O.'s play drawer, 
and we made him turn his things out and put 
them in Father's old portmanteau. H. 0. 
is getting old enough now to learn to be 
unselfish, and besides, his drawer wanted tidy- 
ing very badly. Then we all vowed by the 
honour of the ancient House of Bastable that 
we would not touch any of the feast till Dora 
gave the word next day. And we gave H. 0. 
some of the hardbake, to make it easier for 
him to keep his vow. The next day was the 
most rememorable day in all our lives, but we 
didn't know that then. But that is another 
story. I think that is such a useful way to know 
when you can't think how to end up a chapter. 
I learnt it from another writer named Kipling. 
I've mentioned him before, I believe, but he 
deserves it ! 



CHAPTEB XV. 



263' 




" \Nq vve/'e looking over the banisters.' 



CHAPTEE XY 

'^LO, THE POOR Indian!" 

It was all very well for Father to ask us not 
to make a row because the Indian Uncle 
was coming to talk business, but my young 
brother's boots are not the only things that 
make a noise. We took his boots away and 
made him wear Dora's bath slippers, which 
are soft and woolly, and hardly any soles to 
them ; and of course we wanted to see the 
Uncle, so we looked over the banisters when 
he came, and we were as quiet as mice — but 
when Eliza had let him in she went straight 
down to the kitchen and made the most 
awful row you ever heard, it sounded like 
the Day of Judgment, or all the saucepans 
and crockery in the house being kicked about 
the floor, but she told me afterwards it was 
only the tea-tray and one or two cups and 
saucers, that she had knocked over in her 

265 



266 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

flurry. We heard the Uncle say, "God bless 
my soul!" and then he went into Father's 
study and the door was shut — we didn't see 
him properly at all that time. 

I don't believe the dinner was very nice. 
Something got burned I'm sure — for we smelt 
it. It was an extra smell, besides the mutton. 
I know tJiat got burned. Eliza wouldn't have 
any of us in the kitchen except Dora — till 
dinner was over. Then we got what was left 
of the dessert, and had it on the stairs — just 
round the corner where they can't see you 
from the hall, unless the first landing gas is 
lighted. Suddenly the study door opened and 
the Uncle came out and went and felt in his 
great coat pocket. It was his cigar-case he 
wanted. We saw that afterwards. We got 
a much better view of him then. He didn't 
look like an Indian but just like a kind of 
brown, big Englishman, and of course he didn't 
see us, but we heard him mutter to himself — 

" Shocking bad dinner ! Eh ! — what ? " When 
he went back to the study he didn't shut the 
door properly. That door has always been a 
little tiresome since the day we took the lock 
off to get out the pencil sharpener H. 0. had 
shoved into the keyhole. We didn't listen — 
really and truly — but the Indian Uncle has 



"LO, THE POOR INDIAN!'' 267 

a very big voice, and Father was not going 
to be beaten by a poor Indian in talking or 
anything else — so he spoke up too, like a 
man, and I heard him say it was a very good 
business, and only wanted a little capital — 
and he said it as if it was an imposition he had 
learned, and he hated having to say it. The 
Uncle said, " Pooh, pooh ! " to that, and then 
he said he was afraid that what that same 
business wanted was not capital but manage- 
ment. Then I heard my Father say, "It is 
not a pleasant subject : I am sorry I introduced 
it. Suppose we change it, sir. Let me fill 
your glass." Then the poor Indian said some- 
thing about vintage — and that a poor, broken- 
do wm man like he was couldn't be too careful. 
And then Father said, "Well, whisky then," 
and afterwards they talked about Native Races 
and Imperial something or other and it got 
very dull. 

So then Oswald remembered that you must 
not hear w^hat people do not intend you to 
hear — even if you are not listening ; and he 
said, " We ought not to stay here any longer. 
Perhaps they would not like us to hear " 

Alice said, " Oh, do you think it could 
possibly matter?" and went and shut the 
study door softly but quite tight. So it was 



268 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

no use staying there any longer, and we went 
to the nursery. 

Then Noel said, '^ Now I understand. Of 
course my Father is making a banquet for 
the Indian, because he is a poor, broken-down 
man. We might have known that from 'Lo, 
the poor Indian ! ' you know." 

We all agreed with him, and we were glad 
to have the thing explained, because we had 
not understood before what Father wanted 
to have people to dinner for — and not let us 
come in. 

" Poor people are very proud," said Alice, 
" and I expect Father thought the Indian 
would be ashamed, if all of us children knew 
how poor he was." 

Then Dora said, "Poverty is no disgrace. 
We should honour honest Poverty." 

And we all agreed that that was so. 

" I wish his dinner had not been so nasty," 
Dora said, while Oswald put lumps of coal on 
the fire with his fingers, so as not to make a 
noise. He is a very thoughtful boy, and he 
did not wipe his fingers on his trouser leg as 
perhaps Noel or H. 0. would have done, but 
he just rubbed them on Dora's handkerchief 
while she was talking. "I am afraid the 
dinner was horrid." Dora went on, " The 



'^LO, THE POOR INDIAN!" 269 

table looked very nice with the flowers we got. 
I set it myself, and Eliza made me borrow 
the silver spoons and forks from Albert-next- 
door's Mother." 

"I hope the poor Indian is honest," said 
Dicky gloomily, "when you are a poor, broken 
down man silver spoons must be a great 
temptation." 

Oswald told him not to talk such Tommy- 
rot because the Indian was a relation, so of 
course he couldn't do anything dishonourable. 
And Dora said it was all right any way, 
because she had washed up the spoons and 
forks herself and counted them, and they 
were all there, and she had put them into 
their wash-leather bag, and taken them back 
to Albert-next-door's Mother. 

"And the Brussels sprouts were all wet and 
swimmy," she went on, "and the potatoes 
looked grey — and there were bits of black in 
the gravy — and the mutton was bluey-red and 
soft in the middle. I saw it when it came 
out. The apple pie looked very nice — but it 
wasn't quite done in the apply part. The 
other thing that was burnt — you must have 
smelt it, it was the soup." 

"It is a pity," said Oswald; "I don't 
suppose he gets a good dinner every day." 



270 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

^'No more do we," said H. 0., "but we 
shall to-morrow." 

I thought of all the things we had bought 
with our half-sovereign — the rabbit and the 
sweets and the almonds and raisins and figs 
and the cocoanut : and I thought of the nasty 
mutton and things, and while I was thinking 
about it all Alice said — 

"Let's ask the poor Indian to come to 
dinner with its to-morrow." I should have 
said it myself if she had given me time. 

We got the little ones to go to bed by promis- 
ing to put a note on their dressing-table saying 
what had happened, so that they might know 
the first thing in the morning, or in the middle 
of the night if they happened to wake up, and 
then we elders arranged everything. 

I waited by the back door, and when the 
Uncle was beginning to go Dicky was to drop 
a marble down between the banisters for a 
signal, so that I could run round and meet 
the Uncle as he came out. 

This seems like deceit, but if you are a 
thoughtful and considerate boy you will 
understand that we could not go down and 
say to the Uncle in the hall under Father's 
eye, "Father has given you a beastly, nasty 
dinner, but if you will come to dinner with 




/ don't suppose he was used to politeness from boys." 



"LO, THE POOR INDIAN!'' 271 

US to-morrow, we will show you our idea of 
good things to eat." You will see, if you 
think it over, that this would not have been 
at all polite to Father. 

So when the Uncle left, Father saw him to 
the door and let him out, and then went back 
to the study, looking very sad, Dora says. 

As the poor Indian came down our steps he 
saw me there at the gate. I did not mind his 
being poor, and I said, "Good evening. Uncle," 
just as politely as though he had been about 
to ascend into one of the gilded chariots of 
the rich and affluent, instead of having to 
walk to the station a quarter of a mile in the 
mud, unless he had the money for a tram fare. 

" Good evening. Uncle." I said it again, 
for he stood staring at me. I don't suppose 
he was used to politeness from boys — some boys 
are anything but — especially to the Aged Poor. 

So I said, ''Good evening. Uncle," yet once 
again. Then he said — 

'' Time you were in bed, young man. Eh ! 
—what?" 

Then I saw I must speak plainly with him, 
man to man. So I did. I said — 



" You've been dining with my Father, and 
we couldn't help hearing you say the dinner 
was shocking. So we thought as you're an 



272 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS 

Indian, perhaps you're very poor" — I didn't 
like to tell him we had heard the dreadful truth 
from his own lips, so I went on, '^ because of 
' Lo, the poor Indian ' — you know — and you 
can't get a good dinner every day. And we are 
very sorry if you're poor ; and won't you come 
and have dinner with us to-morrow — with us 
children, I mean ? It's a very, very good 
dinner — rabbit, and hardbake, and cocoanut — 
and you needn't mind us knowing you're poor, 
because we know honourable poverty is no 

disgrace, and " I could have gone on 

much longer, but he interrupted me to say — 



*^ Upon my word ! And what's you?' name, 
eh ? " 

" Oswald Bastable," I said; and I do hope 
you people who are reading this story have not 
guessed before that I was Oswald all the time. 

" Oswald Bastable, eh ? Bless my soul ! " 
said the poor Indian. "Yes, I'll dine with 
you, Mr. Oswald Bastable, with all the 
pleasure in life. Very kind and cordial invita- 
tion, I'm sure. Good-night, sir. At one 
o'clock, I presume ? " 

"Yes, at one," I said. " Good-night, sir." 

Then I went in and told the others, and we 
wrote a paper and put it on the boys' dressing- 
table, and it said — 



''LO, THE POOR INDIAN!" 273 

" The poor Indian is coming at one. He 
seemed very grateful to me for my kindness." 

We did not tell Father that the Uncle was 
coming to dinner with us, for the polite reason 
that I have explained before. But we had to 
tell Eliza ; so we said a friend was coming to 
dinner and we wanted everything very nice. 
I think she thought it was Albert-next-door, 
but she was in a good temper that day, and 
she agreed to cook the rabbit and to make a 
pudding with currants in it. And when one 
o'clock came the Indian Uncle came too. I 
let him in and helped him of! with his great- 
coat, which was all furry inside, and took him 
straight to the nursery. We were to have 
dinner there as usual, for we had decided from 
the first that he would enjoy himself more if 
* he was not made a stranger of. We agreed to 
treat him as one of ourselves, because if we 
were too polite, he might think it was our 
pride because he was poor. 

He shook hands with us all and asked our 
ages, and what schools we went to, and shook 
his head when we said we were having a 
holiday just now. I felt rather uncomfortable 
—I always do when they talk about schools — 
and I couldn't think of anything to say to show 
him we meant to treat him as one of ourselves. 

19 



274 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

I did ask if he played cricket. He said he had 
not played lately. And then no one said any- 
thing till dinner came in. We had all washed 
our faces and hands and brushed our hair 
before he came in, and we all looked very nice, 
especially Oswald, who had had his hair cut 
that very morning. When Eliza had brought 
in the rabbit and gone out again, we looked at 
each other in silent despair, like in books. It 
seemed as if it were going to be just a dull 
dinner like the one the poor Indian had had the 
night before ; only, of course, the things to eat 
would be nicer. Dicky kicked Oswald under 
the table to make him say something — and he 
had his new boots on, too ! — but Oswald did not 
kick back ; then the Uncle asked — 

'' Do you carve, sir, or shall I ? " 

Suddenly Alice said — 

'* Would you like grown-up dinner, Uncle, 
or play-dinner ? " 

He did not hesitate a moment, but said, 
''Play-dinner, by all means. Eh! — what?" 
and then we knew it was all right. 

So we at once showed the Uncle how to be a 
dauntless hunter. The rabbit was the deer we 
had slain in the green forest with our trusty 
yew bows, and we toasted the joints of it, when 
the Uncle had carved it, on bits of fire-wood 










CO 



05 



"LO, THE POOR INDIAN!'' 275 

sharpened to a point. The Uncle's piece got a 
little burnt, but he said it was delicious, and 
he said game was always nicer when you had 
killed it yourself. When Eliza had taken 
away the rabbit bones and brought in the 
pudding, we waited till she had gone out and 
shut the door, and then we put the dish down 
on the floor and slew the pudding in the dish 
in the good old-fashioned way. It was a wild 
boar at bay, and very hard indeed to kill, even 
with forks. The Uncle was very fierce indeed 
with the pudding, and jumped and howled 
when he speared it, but when it came to his 
turn to be helped, he said, "No, thank you; 
think of my liver. Eh! — what?" 

But he had some almonds and raisins — 
when we had climbed to the top of the chest 
of drawers to pluck them from the boughs of 
the great trees ; and he had a fig from the 
cargo that the rich merchants brought in their 
ship — the long drawer was the ship, and the 
rest of us had the sweets and the cocoanut. 
It was a very glorious and beautiful feast, and 
when it was over we said we hoped it was 
better than the dinner last night. And he said — 

" I never enjoyed a dinner more." He was 
too polite to say what he really thought about 
Father's dinner. And we saw that though he 
might be poor, he was a true gentleman. 



276 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

He smoked a cigar while we finished up 
what there was left to eat, and told us about 
tiger shooting and about elephants. We asked 
him about wigwams, and wampum, and 
mocassins, and beavers, but he did not seem 
to know, or else he was shy about talking of 
the wonders of his native land. 

We liked him very much indeed, and when he 
was going at last, Alice nudged me, and I said — 

^' There's one and threepence farthing left 
out of our half-sovereign. Will you take it 
please, because we do like 3^ou very much 
indeed, and we don't want it, really ; and we 
would rather you had it." And I put the 
money into his hand. 

" I'll take the threepenny bit," he said, 
turning the money over and looking at it, " but 
I couldn't rob you of the rest. By the way, 
where did you get the money for this most royal 
spread — half a sovereign you said — eh, what ? " 

We told him all about the different ways we 
had looked for treasure, and when we had been 
telling some time he sat down, to listen better ; 
and at last we told him how Alice had played 
at divining-rod, and how it really had found a 
half-sovereign. Then he said he would like to 
see her do it again. But we explained that 
the rod would only show gold and silver, and 



"LO, THE POOR INDIAN!'' Til 

that we were quite sure there was no more gold 
in the house, because we happened to have 
looked very carefully. 

"Well, silver, then," said he; "let's hide 
the plate-basket, and little Alice shall make 
the divining-rod find it. Eh! — what?" 

" There isn't any silver in the plate-basket 
now," Dora said. " Eliza asked me to borrow 
the silver spoons and forks for your dinner 
last night from Albert-next-door's Mother. 
Father never notices, but she thought it would 
be nicer for you. Our own silver went to 
have the dents taken out ; and I don't think 
Father could afford to pay the man for doing 
it, for the silver hasn't come back." 

"Bless my soul!" said the Uncle again, 
looking at the hole in the big chair that we 
burnt when we had Guy Fawkes' day indoors. 
"And how much pocket-money do you get? 
Eh !— what ? " 

" We don't have any now, said Alice ; " but 
indeed we don't want the other shilling. 
We'd much rather you had it, wouldn't we ? " 

And the rest of us said, "Yes." The 
Uncle wouldn't take it, but he asked a lot of 
questions, and at last he went away. And 
when he went he said — 

" Well, youngsters, I've enjoyed myself very 



278 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

much. I shan't forget your kind hospitality. 
Perhaps the poor Indian may be in a position 
to ask you all to dinner some day." 

Oswald said if he ever could we should like 
to come very much, but he was not to trouble 
to get such a nice dinner as ours, because we 
could do very well with cold mutton and rice 
pudding. We do not like these things, but 
Oswald knows how to behave. Then the 
poor Indian went away. 

We had not got any treasure by this party, 
but we had had a very good time, and I am 
sure the Uncle enjoyed himself. 

We were so sorry he was gone that we 
could none of us eat much tea ; but we did 
not mind, because we had pleased the poor 
Indian and enjoyed ourselves too. Besides, 
as Dora said, ^' A contented mind is a con- 
tinual feast," so it did not matter about not 
wanting tea. 

Only H. 0. did not seem to think a con- 
tinual feast was a contented mind, and Eliza 
gave him a powder in what was left of the red- 
currant jelly Father had for the nasty dinner. 

But the rest of us were quite well, and I 
think it must have been the cocoanut with 
H. 0. We hoped nothing had disagreed with 
the Uncle, but we never knew. 



CHAFTEB XVI. 



279 



CHAPTEK XVI 

THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING 

Now it is coming near the end of our treasure- 
seeking, and the end was so wonderful that 
now nothing is like it used to be. It is like 
as if our fortunes had been in an earthquake, 
and after those, you know, everything comes 
out wrong- way up. 

The day after the Uncle speared the pudding 
with us opened in gloom and sadness. But 
you never know. It was destined to be a 
day when things happened. Yet no sign of 
this appeared in the early morning. Then 
all was misery and upsetness. None of us 
felt quite well ; I don't know why : and Father 
had one of his awful colds, so Dora persuaded 
him not to go to London, but to stay cosy 
and warm in the study, and she made him 
some gruel. She makes it better than Eliza 
does ; Eliza's gruel is all little lumps, and 
when you suck them it is dry oatmeal inside. 

281 



282 THE TBEASUEE SEEKEBS 

We kept as quiet as we could, and I made 
H. 0. do some lessons, like the G. B. had 
advised us to. But it was very dull. There 
are some days when you seem to have got to 
the end of all the things that could ever 
possibly happen to you, and you feel you will 
spend all the rest of your life doing dull 
things just the same way. Days like this are 
generally wet days. But, as I said, you never 
know. 

Then Dicky said if things went on like this 
he should run away to sea, and Alice said she 
thought it would be rather nice to go into a 
convent. H. 0. was a little disagreeable 
because of the powder Eliza had given him, 
so he tried to read two books at once, one 
with each eye, just because Noel wanted one 
of the books, which was very selfish of him, so 
it only made his headache worse. H. 0. is 
getting old enough to learn by experience 
that it is wrong to be selfish, and when he 
complained about his head Oswald told him 
whose fault it was, because I am older than 
he is, and it is my duty to show him where he 
is wrong. But he began to cry, and then 
Oswald had to cheer him up because of Father 
wanting to be quiet. So Oswald said — 

" They'll eat H. 0. if you don't look out ! " 



THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING 283 

And Dora said Oswald was too bad. 

Of course Oswald was not going to interfere 
again, so he went to look out of the window 
and see the trams go by, and by and by H. 0. 
came and looked out too, and Oswald, who 
knows when to be generous and forgiving, 
gave him a piece of blue pencil and two nibs, 
as good as new, to keep. 

As they were looking out at the rain 
splashing on the stones in the street they saw 
a four-wheeled cab come lumbering up from 
the way the station is. Oswald called out — 

^' Here comes the coach of the Fairy God- 
mother. It'll stop here, you see if it doesn't!" 

So they all came to the window to look. 
Oswald had only said that about stopping 
and he was stricken with wonder and amaze 
when the cab really did stop. It had boxes 
on the top and knobby parcels sticking out 
of the window, and it was something like 
going away to the seaside and something 
like the gentleman who takes things about 
in a carriage with the wooden shutters up, to 
sell to the drapers' shops. The cabman got 
down, and some one inside handed out ever 
so many parcels of different shapes and sizes, 
and the cabman stood holding them in his 
arms and grinning over them. 



284 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

Dora said, ''It is a pity some one doesn't 
tell him this isn't the house." And then from 
inside the cab some one put out a foot feeling 
for the step, like a tortoise's foot coming out 
from under his shell when you are holding 
him off the ground, and then a leg came and 
more parcels, and then Noel cried — 

"It's the poor Indian ! " 

And it was. 

Eliza opened the door, and we were all 
leaning over the banisters. Father heard the 
noise of parcels and boxes in the hall, and he 
came out without remembering how bad his 
cold was. If you do that yourself when you 
have a cold they call you careless and 
naughty. Then we heard the poor Indian say 
to Father — 

" I say, Dick, I dined with your kids yester- 
day — as I daresay they've told you. Jolliest 
little cubs I ever saw ! Why didn't you let 
me see them the other night ? The eldest is 
the image of poor Janey — and as to young 
Oswald, he's a man ! If he's not a man, I'm 
a nigger ! Eh ! — what ? And Dick, I say, I 
shouldn't wonder if I could find a friend to 
put a bit into that business of yours — eh ? " 

Then he and Father went into the study and 
the door was shut — and we went down and 



THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING 285 

looked at the parcels. Some were done up 
in old, dirty newspapers, and tied with bits of 
rag, and some were in brown paper and string 
from the shops, and there were boxes. We 
wondered if the Uncle had come to stay and 
this was his luggage, or whether it was to sell. 
Some of it smelt of spices, like merchandise — 
and one bundle Alice felt certain was a bale. 
We heard a hand on the knob of the study 
door after a bit, and Alice said — 

" Fly ! " and we all got away but H. 0., and 
the Uncle caught him by the leg as he was 
trying to get upstairs after us. 

^' Peeping at the baggage, eh ? " said- the 
Uncle, and the rest of us came down because 
it would have been dishonourable to leave 
H. 0. alone in a scrape, and we wanted to 
see what was in the parcels. 

"I didn't touch," said H. 0. "Are you 
coming to stay ? I hope you are." 

" No harm done if you did touch," said the 
good, kind, Indian man to all of us. " For 
all these parcels are /or yon.'" 

I have several times told you about our 
being dumb with amazement and terror and 
joy, and things like that, but I never 
remember us being dumber than we were 
when he said this. 



286 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS 

The Indian Uncle went on : "I told an old 
friend of mine what a pleasant dinner I had 
with you, and about the threepenny bit, and 
the divining-rod, and all that, and he sent 
all these odds and ends as presents for j^ou. 
Some of the things came from India." 

*' Have you come from India, Uncle ! " Noel 
asked ; and when he said " Yes " we were all 
very much surprised, for we never thought of 
his being that sort of Indian. We thought he 
was the Eed kind, and of course his not being 
accounted for his ignorance of beavers and 
things. 

He got Eliza to help, and we took all the 
parcels into the nursery and he undid them 
and undid them and undid them, till the 
papers lay thick on the floor. Father came 
too and sat in the Guy Fawkes chair. I 
cannot begin to tell you all the things that 
kind friend of Uncle's had sent us. He must 
be a very agreeable person. 

There were toys for the kids and model 
engines for Dick and me, and a lot of books, 
and Japanese china tea sets for the girls, red 
and white and gold — there were sweets by the 
pound and by the box — and long yards and 
yards of soft silk from India, to make frocks 
for the girls — and a real Indian sword for 



THE END OF THE TREASUBE SEEKING 287 

Oswald, and a book of Japanese pictures for 
Noel, and some ivory chessmen for Dicky : 
the castles of the chessmen are elephant- 
and-castles. There is a railway station called 
that ; I never knew what it meant before. 
The brown paper and string parcels had 
boxes of games in them — and big cases of 
preserved fruits and things. And the shabby 
old newspaper parcels and the boxes had the 
Indian things in. I never saw so many 
beautiful things before. There were carved 
fans and silver bangles and strings of amber 
beads, and necklaces of uncut gems — turquoises 
and garnets, the Uncle said they were — and 
shawls and scarves of silk, and cabinets of 
brown and gold, and ivory boxes and silver 
trays, and brass things. The Uncle kept 
saying, " This is for you, young man," or 
"Little Alice will like this fan," or ''Miss 
Dora would look well in this green silk, I 
think. Eh!— what?" 

And Father looked on as if it was a dream, 
till the Uncle suddenly gave him an ivory 
paper-knife and a box of cigars, and said, 
" My old friend sent you these, Dick ; he's an 
old friend of yours too, he says." And he 
winked at my Father, for H. 0. and I saw him. 
And my Father winked back, though he has 
always told us not to. 



288 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

That was a wonderful day. It was a 
treasure, and no mistake ! I never saw such 
heaps and heaps of presents, Hke things out 
of a fairy tale — and even Eliza had a shawl. 
Perhaps she deserved it, for she did cook the 
rabbit and the pudding ; and Oswald says it 
is not her fault if her nose turns up and she 
does not brush her hair. I do not think Eliza 
likes brushing things. It is the same with the 
carpets. But Oswald tries to make allowances 
even for people who do not wash their ears. 

The Indian Uncle came to see us often after 
that, and his friend always sent us something. 
Once he tipped us a sovereign each — the Uncle 
brought it ; and once he sent us money to go 
to the Crystal Palace, and the Uncle took us ; 
and another time to a circus ; and when 
Christmas was near the Uncle said — 

"You remember when I dined with you 
some time ago, you promised to dine with 
me some day, if I could ever afford to give 
a dinner party. Well, I'm going to have 
one — a Christmas party. Not on Christmas 
Day, because every one goes home then — but 
on the day after. Cold mutton and rice 
pudding. You'll come ? Eh ! — ^what ? " 

We said we should be delighted, if Father 
had no objection, because that is the proper 



THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING 289 

thing to say, and the poor Indian, I mean the 
Uncle, said, "No, your Father won't object — 
he's coming too, bless your soul ! " 

We all got Christmas presents for the Uncle. 
The girls made him a handkerchief case and a 
comb bag, out of some of the pieces of silk he 
had given them. I got him a knife with three 
blades; H. 0. got a siren whistle, a very 
strong one, and Dicky joined with me in the 
knife, and Noel would give the Indian ivory 
box that Uncle's friend had sent on the 
wonderful Fairy Cab day. He said it was 
the very nicest thing he had, and he was sure 
Uncle wouldn't mind his not having bought it 
with his own money. 

I think Father's business must have got 
better — perhaps Uncle's friend put money in 
it and that did it good, like feeding the 
starving. Anyway we all had new suits, and 
the girls had the green silk from India made 
into frocks, and on Boxing Day we went in 
two cabs — Father and the girls in one, and 
us boys in the other. 

We wondered very much where the Indian 
Uncle lived, because we had not been told. And 
we thought when the cab began to go up the 
hill towards the Heath that perhaps the Uncle 
lived in one of the poky little houses up at the 

20 . 



290 THE TREASURE SEEKERS 

top of Greenwich. But the cab went right 
over the Heath and in at some big gates, and 
through a shrubbery all white with frost like 
a fairy forest, because it was Christmas time. 
And at last we stopped before one of those 
jolly big, ugly red houses with a lot of 
windows, that are so comfortable inside, and 
on the steps was the Indian Uncle, looking 
very big and grand, in a blue cloth coat and 
yellow sealskin waistcoat, with a bunch of 
seals hanging from it. 

" I wonder whether he has taken a place as 
butler here ? " said Dicky. " A poor, broken- 
down man " 

Noel thought it was very likely, because he 
knew that in these big houses there were 
always thousands of stately butlers. 

The Uncle came down the steps and opened 
the cab door himself, which I don't think 
butlers would expect to have to do. And he 
took us in. It was a lovely hall, with bear 
and tiger skins on the floor, and a big clock 
with the faces of the sun and moon dodging 
out when it was day or night, and Father 
Time with a scythe coming out at the hours, 
and the name on it was "Flint. Ashford. 
1776 ; " and there was a fox eating a stuffed 
duck in a glass case, and horns of stags and 
other animals over the doors. 



THE END OF THE TBEASUBE SEEKING 291 

- " We'll just come into my study first," said 
the Uncle, '^ and wish each other a Merry 
Christmas." So then we knew he wasn't the 
butler, but it must be his own house, for only 
the master of the house has a study. 

His study was not much like Father's. It 
had hardly any books, but swords and guns 
and newspapers and a great many boots, and 
boxes half unpacked, with more Indian things 
bulging out of them. 

We gave him our presents and he was 
awfully pleased. Then he gave us his 
Christmas presents. You must be tired of 
hearing about presents, but I must remark 
that all the Uncle's presents were watches ; 
there was a watch for each of us, with our 
names engraved inside, all silver except 
H. O.'s, and that w^as a Waterbury, " To 
match his boots," the Uncle said. I don't 
know what he meant. 

Then the Uncle looked at Father, and Father 
said, " You tell them, sir." 

So the Uncle coughed and stood up and 
made a speech. He said — 

*' Ladies and gentlemen, we are met together 
to discuss an important subject which has for 
some weeks engrossed the attention of the 
honourable member opposite and myself." 



292 THE TREASUBE SEEKERS 

I said, " Hear, hear," and Alice whispered. 
"What happened to the guinea-pig?" Of 
course you know the answer to that. 

The Uncle went on — 

''I am going to live in this house, and as 
it's rather big for me, your Father has agreed 
that he and you shall come and live with me. 
And so, if you're agreeable, we're all going to 
live here together, and, please God, it'll be a 
happy home for us all. Eh ! — what ? " 

He blew his nose and kissed us all round. 
As it was Christmas I did not mind, though I 
am much too old for it on other dates. Then 
he said, " Thank you all very much for your 
presents ; but I've got a present here I value 
more than anything else I have." 

I thought it was not quite polite of him to 
say so, till I saw that what he valued so much 
was a threepenny bit on his watch-chain, and, 
of course, I saw it must be the one we had 
given him. 

He said, " You children gave me that when 
you thought I was the poor Indian, and I'll 
keep it as long as I live. And I've asked some 
friends to help us to be jolly, for this is our 
house-warming. Eh ! — what ? " 

Then he shook Father by the hand, and they 
blew their noses ; and then Father said, " Your 
Uncle has been most kind — most " 



THE END OF THE TEE A SURE SEEKING 293 

But Uncle interrupted by saying, "Now, 
Dick, no nonsense ! " 

Then H. 0. said, " Then you're not poor at 
all ? " as if he were very disappointed. 

The Uncle replied, "I have enough for my 
simple wants, thank you, H. 0., and your 
Father's business will provide him with 
enough for yours. Eh! — what?" 

Then we all went down and looked at the 
fox thoroughly, and made the Uncle take the 
glass of! so that we could see it all round ; and 
then the Uncle took us all over the house, 
which is the most comfortable one I have ever 
been in. There is a beautiful portrait of 
Mother in Father's sitting-room. The Uncle 
must be very rich indeed. This ending is 
like what happens in Dickens's books ; but I 
think it was much jollier to happen like a 
book, and it shows what a nice man the 
Uncle is, the way he did it all. 

Think how fiat it would have been if the 
Uncle had said, when we first offered him the 
one and threepence farthing, '' Oh, I don't 
want your dirty one and threepence ! I'm very 
rich indeed." Instead of which he saved up 
the news of his wealth till Christmas, and 
then told us all in one glorious burst. 
Besides, I can't help it if it is like Dickens, 



294 THE TBEASUBE-SEEKEBS 

because it happens this way. Keal life is 
often something like books. 

Presently, when we had seen the house, we 
were taken into the drawing-room, and there 
was Mrs. Leslie, who gave us the shillings and 
wished us good hunting, and Lord Tottenham, 
and Albert -next -door's Uncle — and Albert- 
next-door, and his Mother (I'm not very fond 
of her), and best of all our own Kobber and his 
two kids, and our Robber had a new suit on. 
The Uncle told us he had asked the people who 
had been kind to us, and Noel said, "Where is 
my noble editor that I wrote the poetry to ? " 

The Uncle said he had not had the courage 
to ask a strange editor to dinner ; but Lord 
Tottenham was an old friend of Uncle's, and 
he had introduced Uncle to Mrs. Leslie, and 
that was how he had the pride and pleasure of 
welcoming her to our house-warming. And 
he made her a bow like you see on a Christmas 
card. 

Then Alice asked, " What about Mr. 
Rosenbaum ? He was kind ; it would have 
been a pleasant surprise for him." 

But everybody laughed, and Uncle said — 

" Your father has paid him the sovereign he 
lent you. I don't think he could have borne 
another pleasant surprise." 

And I said there was the butcher, and he 



THE END OF THE T BE A SURE SEEKING 295 

was really kind ; but they only laughed, and 
Father said you could not ask all your business 
friends to a private dinner. 

Then it was dinner time, and we thought of 
Uncle's talk about cold mutton and rice. But 
it was a beautiful dinner, and I never saw such 
a dessert ! We had ours on plates to take 
away into another sitting-room, which was 
much jollier than sitting round the table with 
the grown-ups. But the Bobber's kids stayed 
with their Father. They were very shy and 
frightened, and said hardly anything, but 
looked all about with very bright eyes. H. 0. 
thought they were like white mice ; but after- 
wards we got to know them very well, and in 
the end they were not so mousy. And there 
is a good deal of interesting stuff to tell about 
them; but I shall put all that in another book, 
for there is no room for it in this one. We 
played desert islands all the afternoon and 
drank Uncle's health in ginger wine. It was 
H. 0. that upset his over Alice's green silk 
dress, and she never even rowed him. Brothers 
ought not to have favourites, and Oswald 
would never be so mean as to have a favourite 
sister, or, if he had, wild horses should not 
make him tell who it was. 

And now we are to go on living in the big 
house on the Heath, and it is very jolly. 



296 THE T BE A SURE SEEKERS 

Mrs. Leslie often comes to see us, and our 
own Eobber and Albert-next-door's uncle. 
The Indian Uncle likes him because he has 
been in India too and is brown ; but our Uncle 
does not like Albert-next-door. He says he is 
a mu:ff. And I am to go to Eugby, and so are 
Noel and H. 0., and perhaps to Balliol after- 
wards. Balliol is my Father's college. It has 
two separate coats of arms, which many other 
colleges are not allowed. Noel is going to be 
a poet and Dicky wants to go into Father's 
business. The Uncle is a real good old sort ; 
and just think, we should never have found 
him if we hadn't made up our minds to be 
Treasure Seekers ! 

Noel made a poem about it — 

Lo ! the poor Indian from lands afar, 

Comes where the treasure seekers are ; 

We looked for treasure, but we find 

The best treasure of all is the Uncle good and kind. 

I thought it was rather rot, but Alice would 
show it to the Uncle, and he liked it very 
much. He kissed Alice and he smacked Noel 
on the back, and he said, ^^ I don't think I've 
done so badly either, if you come to that, 
though I was never a regular professional 
treasure seeker. Eh ! — what ? " 

THE END. 



[Some chapters of this story have appeared in the Pall Mall 
Magazine, and in the Windsor Magazine, and some portions 
were printed by the Illustrated London Keics and in Kister's 
Holiday Annual. To the Editors of these journals my 
thanks are due.— E. Nesbit.] 



21 



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Flora, 

Climate, 

Soil, 

Products, 

Minerals, 

Agriculture, 

Scenery, 

Topography, 

Sanitation, 

People, 

Transportation, 

Statistics, 

History, 

Routes of travel, 

Administration, 

Accessibility, 

Possibilities, 



SAN DOMINQO, 
ST. THOMAS, 
ST. KITTS, 
ANTIGUA, 



A readable Narrative. 
500 Pages. 
160 Illustrations. 
Price i6s. 



MONTSERRAT, 

GUADELOUPE, 

" His book ~ 
is a very good \ MARTINIQUE, 

example of its 

kind, carefully writ- \^ ST. LUCIA, 

ten, full of the infer 

mation that is required." X BARBADOS, 

— The Times. ^^ 

" He has written the most X ST. VINCENT, 

important book that has been 

published on the subject."— X GRENADA. 

Chicago Tribune. 

"His volume of 429 pages, with ^ TRINIDAD. 
profuse Illustrations and an index, forms 
a little condensed library of reference." — X ♦ 

A^. Y. Times. ^ ^ 

" The book is well and ably written ... is 
brightened by a truly magnificent series of photo- 
graphs , . . beautifully reproduced on fine paper." — 
Edinburgh Scotsman. 



Tourists to Cuba, Porto Rico and the West Indies will find this a 
IL-* most reliable and the only General Handbook* 

T. FISHER UNWIN, PATERNOSTER SQUARE, LONDON. 



T. FISHER UN^ATIN, Publisher, 



THE STORY OF 

THE NATIONS 

A SERIES OF POPULAR HISTORIES. 

Each Volume is furnished with Maps, Illustrations, and Index. Large 
Crewn ^vo., fancy cloth, gold lettered, or Library Edition, dark cloth, burnished 
red top^ 5s. each. — Or may be had in half Persian, cloth sides ^ gilt tops ; 

Price on Application. 

By John Mackintosh, 

By R. Stead and 



By the Rev. S. Baring- 
By Professor Alfred 



By Arthur 
Hon. Emily 



Zenaide a. 



1. Rome. By Arthur Oilman, M.A. 

2. The Jenrs. By Professor J. K. 

Hosmer. 

3. Gevmany. 

Gould. 

4. Carthage. 

J. Church. 

5. Alexander's Empire. By Prof. 
J. P, Mahaffy. 

6. The Moors In Spain. By 

Stanley Lane-Poole. 

Ancient Egypt. By Prof. 
George Rawlinson. 

Hungary. By Prof. Arminius 
Vambery. 

The Saracens. 

Gilman, M.A. 

Ireland. By the 

Lawless. 

Ohaldea. By 

Ragozin. 

The Goths. By Henry Bradley. 
Assyria. By Zenaide A. Ragozin. 
Turkey. By Stanley Lane- 
Poole. 

Holland. By Professor J. E. 
Thorold Rogers. 

Mediaeval France. By Gustave 

Masson. 

17. Persia. By S. G. W. Benjamin. 

18. P h oe n i o i a. By Prof. George 
Rawlinsox. 

19. Media. By Zenaide A. Ragozin 

20. The Hansa Tovms. By Helen 
Zimmerx. 

21. Early Britain. By Professor 
Alfrfd J. Church. 

22. The Barbary Corsairs. By 

Stanley Lane-Poole. 

23. Russia. By W. R. MORFILL. 

24. The Jews under the Roman 

Empire. By W. D. Morrison. 



7. 
8. 



10. 

II. 

I a. 
13. 
14- 

15. 
16. 



25. 



Scotland. 

LL.D. 

Switzerland. 

LiNA Hug. 

Mexico. By Susan Hale. 

Portugal. By H. Morse Stephens. 

The Normans. By Sarah Ornb 
Jewett. 

The Byzantine Empire. By 

C. W. C. Oman, M.A. 

Sicily: Phcenician, Greek 
and Roman. By the late E. A. 
Freeman. 

The Tuscan and Genoa 
Republics. By Bella Duffy. 

Poland. By W. R, Morfill. 

Parthia. By Prof. George Raw- 
linson. 

The Australian Common- 
wealth. By Greville Tkegar- 
then. 

Spain. By H. E. Watts. 

37. Japan. By David Murray, Ph.D. 

38. South Africa. By George M. 
Theal. 

Venice. By the Hon. Alethea 

WIEL. 

The Crusades: The Latin King- 
dom of Jerusalem. By T. A. Archer 
and Charles L. Kingsford. 

Vedio India. By Zenaide A. 
Ragozin. 

ThG lATest Indies and the 
Spanish Main. By James 
Rodwav, F.L.S. 

Eohcmia. By C. E. Maurice, 

The Balkans. By W. Miller. 

Canada. Bv Dr. Bourinot. 

Eintish India. By R. W. Frazer, 

LL.B. 

Modern France; By Andr^ le 

Eon, 
The Franks. By Lewis Sergeant. 

E.A. 



26. 

27. 
28. 

29. 
30. 
31. 



32. 

33. 
34. 

35. 



36. 



39. 



40, 



41. 



43. 

44- 

45. 
46. 

47. 



49. Austria. Bv Sidney Whithtan. 

50. Modern England before the Refoxrm Bill. By Justin McCarthy. M.P. 

51. China. By Professor Douglas. 



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THE CHILDREN'S STUDY 



Long Svo., cloth, gilt tof, with photogravure frontisptece, price 2S/6 each. 

Scotland. By Mrs. Oliphant. 
Ireland. Edited by Barry O'Brien. 
England. By Frances E. Cooke. 

Germany. By Kate Freiligrath Kroeker, Author 

of '* Fairy Tales from Brentano," &c. 

Old Tales from Greece. By Alice Zimmern. 
France. By Mary Rowsell. 
Spain. By Leonard Williams. 
Rome. By Mary Ford. 
Canada. By J. R. McIlwraith. 

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country with whom they are so closely bound up, and for whose past their fathers are 
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BUILDERS OF GREATER 
BRITAIN 



EDITED BY 

H. F. WILSON 



A Set of 10 Volumes^ each with Photogravure Frontispiece y 
and Map, large crown 8vo., cloth ^ 5 a. each. 



The completion of the Sixtieth year of the Queen's reign will be the occasion of ranch 
retrospect and review, in the course of which the great men who, under the auspices of Her 
Majesty and her predecessors, have helped to make the British Empire what it is to-day, 
will naturally be brought to mind. Hence the idea of the present series. These biographies, 
concise but full, popular but authoritative, have been designed with the view of giving in 
each case an adequate picture of the builder in relation to his work. 

The series will be under the general editorship of Mr. H. F. Wilson, formerly Fellow 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, and now private secretary to the Right Hon. J. Chamberlain 
at the Colonial Office. Each volume will be placed in competent hands, and will contain 
the best portrait obtainable of its subject, and a map showing his special contribution to 
the Imperial edifice. The first to appear will be a Life of Sir Walter Ralegh, by Major 
Hume, the learned author of " The Year after the Armada." Others in contemplation will 
^eal with the Cabots, the quarter-centenary of whose sailing from Bristol is has recently beea 
celebrated in that city, as well as in Canada and Newfoundland ; Sir Thomas Maitland, the 
" King Tom " of the Mediterranean ; Rajah Brooke, Sir Stamford Raffles, Lord Clive, 
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Zachary Macaulay, &c, &c. 

The Series has taken for its motto the Miltonic prayer : — 

** C^ou 3H9o of C^g free grcice tit&i fiutfZ) up i^ia (^rtffcnmc* 
^m^jire to a gfortous an& enSiafife ^etg^t^* S^it^ ^^i 3er 
®aus9ter ^bianba afiout 5^r+ sfae us tit t^ia feficifie+** 



1. SIR WALTER RALEQH. By Martin A. S. Hume, Author 

of "The Courtships of Queen Elizabeth," &c. 

2. SIR THOMAS MAITLAND; the Mastery of the Mediterranean. 

By Walter Frewen Lord. 

3. JOHN CABOT AND HIS SONS; the Discovery of North 

America. By C. Raymond Beazley, M.A. 

4. EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD; the Colonisation of South 

Australia and New Zealand. By R. Garnett, C.B., L.L.D. 

5. LORD CLIVE ; the Foundation of British Rule in India. By Sir 

A. J. Arbuthnot, K.C.S.I., CLE. 

RAJAH BROOKE; the Englishman as Ruler of an Eastern 
State. By Sir Spenser St. John, G.C.M.G. 

ADMIRAL PHILIP; the Founding of New South Wales. By 
Louis Becke and Walter Jeffery. 

51 R STAMFORD RAFFLES; England in the Far East. By 
the Editor. 

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The ADVENTURE SERIES 

Popular Re-issue. 



Each large crown Svo.,/u/fy illustrated. Popular n-issue, 
per vol. ; in two styles of binding^ viz,^ decorative cover ^ cut edges ; 
and plain library style^ untouched edges. 

1. Adventures of a Younger Son. By 

Edward J. Trelawney. Introduction by Edward 
Garnett. 

2. Madagascar; or, Robert Drury's Journal 

during his Captivity on that Island. Preface and 
Notes by Captain S. P. Oliver, R.A. 

3. Memoirs of the Extraordinary Military 

Career of John Shipp. 

4. The Buccaneers and Marooners of 

America. Edited and Illustrated by Howard Pyle. 

5. The Log of a Jack Tar: Being the Life of 

James Choyce, Master Mariner. Edited by Comman- 
der V. LovETT Cameron. 

6. Ferdinand Mendez Pinto, the Portu- 

guese Adventurer. New Edition. Annotated by 
Prof. A. Vambery. 

7. Adventures of a Blockade Runner. By 

William Watson. Illustrated by Arthur Byng, R.N. 

8. The Life and Adventures of James 

Beckwourth. Mountaineer, Scout, Pioneer, and Chief 
of Crow Nation Indians. Edited by Chas. G. Leland. 

9. A Particular Account of the European 

Military Adventurers of Hindustan. Compiled by 
Henry Compton. 



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T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



MASTERS OF MEDICINE 



EDITBD BT 



ERNEST HART, D.C.L., 

Editor of " The British Medical Journal." 



Large crown Sv o., cloth^ 



each. 



Medical discoveries more directly concern the well-being and happiness of the hnm&n 
rsice than any victories of science. They appeal to one of the primary instincts of human 
nature, that of self-preservation. The importance of health as the most valuable of 
our national assets is coming to be more and more recognised, and the place of the doctor 
in Society and in the State is becoming one of steadily increasing prominence ; indeed, 
Mr. Gladstone said not many years ago that the time would surely come when the medical 
profession would take precedence of all the others in authority as well as in dignity. The 
development of medicine from an empiric art to an exact science is one of the most 
important and also one of the most interestmg chapters in the history' of civilisation. The 
histories of medicine which exist are for the most part only fitted for the intellectual 
digestion of Dryasdust and his congeners. Of the men who made the discoveries which 
have saved incalculable numbers of human lives, and which have lengthened the span of 
human existence, there is often no record at all accessible to the general reader. "^ et the 
story of these men's lives, of their struggles and of their triumphs, is not only interesting, 
but in the highest degree stimulating and educative. Many of them could have said with 
literal truth what Sir Thomas Browne said figuratively, that their lives were a romance. 
Hitherto there have been no accounts of the lives of medical discoverers in a form at once 
convenient and uniform, and sold at a popular price. The " Masters of Medicine " is a 
series of biographies written by "eminent hands" intended to supply this want. It is 
intended that the man shall be depicted as he moved and lived and had his being, and that 
the scope and gist of his work, as well as the steps by which he reached his results, shall 
be set forth in a clear, readable style. 



The following is a condensed list 
AUTHOR. 

Stephen Paget • 
D'Arcy Power 
H. Laing Gordon . 
John G. McKendrick 
Sir William Stokes 
Michael Foster 
Timothy Holmes . 
J. F. Payne 
C. L. Taylor . 



of some of the earlier volumes >— 
TITLE. 

John Hunter 
William Harvey 
Sir James Simpson 
Hermann von Helmholtz 
William Stokes 
Claude Bernard 
Sir Benjamin Brodie 
Thomas Sydenham 
Vesalius 



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J,y 



22 



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WORKS BY MARTIN A. S. HUME 

F.R.H.S., Editor of the "Calendar of Spanish State Papers of Elizabeth" 

(Public Record Office). 

THE COURTSHIPS OF 
QUEEN ELIZABETH 

With Portraits 
Fourth Edition. Large crown Svo. , cloth, 6s. 

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"A connected and consistent, though assuredly a most extraordinary, story. ... A 
fascinating picture." — Staftdard. 

"A delightful book." — Daily Telegraph, 



THE YEAR AFTER THE 
ARMADA 

AND OTHER HISTORICAL STUDIES 

Second Edition. Illustrated, Demy Si'o., cloth giltf 12s. 

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"The whole book is extremely interesting, and at once instructive and amusing." 

Speaker. 

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Full of delightful sketches of men and things."— W. L. Courtney in The Daily 
Telegraph. 

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Post. 

" Quite as good as a novel— and a good deal better, too. The book is so bright and 
vivid that readers with the common dislike of history may venture on its pages 
unafraid."— Andrew Lang in Cosmopolis. 



SIR WALTER RALEGH 

Being Vol. I. of the series entitled " Builders of Greater 
Britain," each vol. with photogravure frontispiece and map. 

Large crown 8w., cloth^ 5s. each. 

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SOME WORKS BY REV. E. J. HARDY 

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HOW TO BE HAPPY THOUGH MARRIED 

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SOME 3/6 NOVELS 

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